Northwestern coach Bill Carmody spoke with the media the day before his Wildcats play Illinois in Champagne. Here are some highlights.
On Illinois senior guard Brandon Paul: "I have loved that kid since he was a sophomore in high school. He's smart, he's athletic, he's shooting the ball very well now. He's always been an open-court player but now he's much more potent in the halfcourt. When you can play full court and get easy ones and also knock down shots it's make you tough to guard."
On the Big Ten: "All coaches say their league is the best but there's an awful lot of evidence that this is a terrific year for the conference."
On NU's offensive struggles: "I'd like to see us have more balance and score some more easy ones. We're not going to get too many offensive rebounds but we can start making some of our backdoor cuts and start making some easy shots. If we can get that balance it takes the pressure off your shooting and they start going in more."
On Illinois coach John Groce: "He's doing a very fine job. It sees like they are playing with a lot of zest and enthusiasm. Different guys are coming through at different times."