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Feb. 28, 2003

Dave Odom met with the media on Friday before the Vanderbilt game. Here are a few quotes from his conversation with the media.

“It’s funny kind of how things have flipped since the last time we played Vanderbilt. When we played them in Nashville we had lost seven in a row and played really well that night in all areas of the game. At that time they were playing fairly well.

“Since then roles have somewhat reversed. Now they are sitting there with six straight loses. The obvious question is what is going to keep them from beating us here? If you look at the recent history the home team has not been that successful. The visiting team has won the past three.

“In my way of thinking it is time to stop that. If we are to win tomorrow night’s game I think the key is our defense. We have to establish ourselves early and get out of the box early and that is one of the things we have been able to do as of late in the Carolina Center. If we do that, then I think we can build on that as we go along and win the basketball game, but it is not gong to be an easy task.

“I would characterize Vanderbilt as a dog that has been injured. It goes in a corner and coils itself and protects itself with all its might and I feel that is the way that Vanderbilt is going to be.

“We have played two very difficult basketball games on the road against excellent basketball teams, neither of which we played well in so I feel we have got to get our game back and I think tomorrow is the time to do that.

What about Brian Thornton?

“Yes, he gave us problems last time in the first half, but we made adjustment and were able to slow him down as the game went on. In the first half they got him the ball at will and he did what he wanted to do with it. We worked hard in practice yesterday on trying to keep the ball out of the post and we will do so again today. He is a big-bodied person who really understands how to work the post and knows what to do when he gets the ball in his hands.”

Have you guys talked about trying to put together a run to end the season?

“Yes, we talked about that. This season is not over. The great thing about college basketball is there is always hope until it’s over. We still have three games left and there is a lot we can accomplish between now and the end of the regular season.

“I feel with everything that has gone on this season if we can finish the season strong and win six-league games then I feel it will be a successful season for this team. We have taken on all comers and there is some value in that you know where you want to be and you know whom you have to beat to get there and it gives you a good indication of what you have to do. It is not time to toss in the towel and if we keep working then we can get better because things can change quickly.”

Do feel there will be a let down if you go back to the NIT?

“One thing you can say about this team is they are resilient. I have asked them to respond time and time again and they have done so. I expect them to respond again. I am going to push them.

“I have had maybe two or three years when I lost the team. By that I mean they didn’t quit playing, I just felt like they quit listening. I feel yesterday was a good day back from a bad day’s practice. When there is no pressure on you and you are winning practice runs smoothly, but when you are fighting for your life you can feel the pressure everyday and its tough.”

Any update on Chris Warren’s Condition?

“Chris did not practice yesterday. There was a noticeable limp yesterday. He has really looked after the rehab and is listed as able to practice today as tolerated. We will see after practice and evaluate it from there. We will try and get him a good 45 minutes and then get him out of there. We need him for the rest of our games.”