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January 19, 2009
During Monday's Atlantic Coast Conference Coaches Teleconference, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton and Miami's Frank Haith talked about their teams, the upcoming matchup between the Seminoles and Hurricanes, and more. Here is a transcript of their conversations.
Miami head coach Frank Haith
"Obviously we had a week where we played at home against Maryland and had a huge comeback to win that ballgame. Went down and played North Carolina this weekend and they played great. I thought they were outstanding. For about 17 minutes of that ballgame we were hanging there with them and then (Wayne) Ellington just took the game over along with Tyler (Hansbrough). That game got away from us. Big week for us in terms of two home games so we are just trying to get ready for that."
Q: Florida State has won five in a row, any rhyme or reason why they have put together that streak?
A: Well you know they have done a good job against us. This year they are equally as talented as they have been in the past in terms of athletically. I don't know, some teams you match up well against. Each one of our games in that stretch have gone down to the wire and I know two of them for sure have gone into overtime. Last year down there went into overtime and two years ago up here went into overtime so they have all been tight ballgames and they have just been games that haven't gone our way. I don't know that I can point at one thing and say that is the reason. I know that it is a rivalry game and before they won five in a row I think we had won four in a row so it has kind of flip-flopped like that. Hopeully we are able to be on the other side of that come Wednesday.
Q: Just talk about the importance of this game for your team.
A: It is extremely important. I think any time you come back home you want to stay positive with your home record and trying to win your home games. It is an opportunity for us to play a game against a team that I think is very good. You just mentioned five in a row, so it is an extremely important game for us. We have to get ourselves ready to come in and play. I think if you would have told me we would be 2-2 after our first four games in league play I would have taken that. We are where we want to be and now it is important that we take advantage of protecting our homecourt against a very good Florida State team that I think will come in here with a lot of momentum and confidence. They have already won on the road in the league at N.C. State so they will feel good about coming in here and playing and we just have to be ready to play.
Q: Can you sense when the two teams play that the passion is turned up a little more because of the in-state rivalry?
A: I don't know about in terms of any other ACC game. I think probably our fans get wound up a little bit but I know our guys want to play well. It will be an intense game. Every one of those games we have played since I have been here have been a hard fought, physical, very intense game. I anticipate it being the same way it has always been.
Q: After the last two games, where is your team's mindset at this point?
A: I think as I said earlier, we are 2-2 in league play and we are in good shape. We lost to an outstanding North Carolina team and a Clemson team that was ranked in the top 10 going into last week. Carolina had lost at home the previous game before we played them so I knew going into that game on Saturday we were going to get the best North Carolina team and that is pretty doggone good. I think our guys are excited about getting back to work today and getting prepared to play a home game with a good crowd. I think our students will be back for Wednesday's game and we have gone a long time without playing in front of our students. I think our guys are excited about getting ready to play.
Q: Dequan Jones has increased his minutes and seems to be playing well, is that something that you have seen from him and does he seem to continue to become more productive?
A: Absolutely. I think he played well against North Carolina. We made that decision to put him in the lineup because we really feel like he is a guy we have to get going in terms of what he brings to the table for us. He is a 6-foot-6 guy on the perimeter who can guard and he can do a lot of different things. He can play athletically against for example, when we play Florida State (Chris) Singleton, he is very long and athletic on the perimeter. We need somebody out there to match up with teams in this league. ? Every team in the league has guys like Dequan Jones and we need to get him out there and get him going a little bit so he can help us and match those guys we are playing against in this league.
Q: So far this year it is 10-10 as far as home teams winning on their home court, so how big of an advantage is it really?
A: Exactly. You are hoping it would be an advantage but I think you are seeing our league teams are so good and so compatible that it may not be as much of an advantage as it has been in the past. With that said, you still want to try to take advantage of it when you do have an opportunity to play at home and sleep in your own bed and play the next day. Thus far, I know those numbers are even and I think what you are seeing is that we have some really good teams in this league that are very compatible.
Q: How big of a homecourt advantage do you guys have when you play in Miami?
A: It is getting better. I think it will be a lot better now that our students are back. We have played two league games without our students and we didn't have a full house the other night against Maryland but when we made our run it was very good. I think it is getting better and better. I anticipate as it was last season when we made our run it was packed and we had a lot of energy in our building the last part of last year. I would anticipate with the six games we have left to play at home that we will have a really good crowd, a very energetic crowd.