Head men’s basketball coach Dana Altman talks about preparing for Ole Miss and his health

Head coach Dana Altman reacts in frustration to the referees' failure to call a foul committed against the Ducks. The No. 18 Oregon Ducks play the Western Carolina Catamounts in their home opener at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 13, 2013. (Andrew Seng/Emerald)

Head coach Dana Altman reacts in frustration to the referees' failure to call a foul committed against the Ducks. The No. 18 Oregon Ducks play the Western Carolina Catamounts in their home opener at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Nov. 13, 2013. (Andrew Seng/Emerald)

Posted by Christopher Keizur on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 2:50 pm.

Before Wednesday’s practice, Oregon head men’s basketball coach Dana Altman discussed upcoming opponent Ole Miss, how his team is handling dead week and the health of his back.

Ole Miss has two or three guys averaging 15 points a game. How are you going to deal with that?

“They are a balanced team with good players and a lot of depth. We will have our work cut out. It’s a hard place to play against a top team in the Southeastern Conference. We are going to really have to play well.”

Is it a good first place to take the team on the road?

“Absolutely. Got to go on the road and get used to playing on the road. This will help.”

Do you talk to your guys about playing someone like senior guard Marshall Henderson, who has a reputation for being a talker?

“No, our guys will be fine. There is a certain way we want to play, and I think the guys understand that. We will be Okay.”

Aside from getting the win, what do you want to see out of your team?

“Well, we have to get better in every facet. I think we took a big step this last weekend, made a lot of progress. But we have areas of great concern. (Ole Miss) is a bigger and stronger team that will really test us. We are still giving up too many easy baskets and at times our movement offensively is really good and at other times it’s stagnant. So lots of things to work on, still have a long way to go. But I like the direction we are headed.”

Do you have to tweak your message to keep guys from tuning you out?

“I don’t think so, our guys understand. We watched film Tuesday and it’s pretty easy to tell them what to work on. Unless they just don’t want to join in, you can show them the easy baskets we are giving up.”

How is the team handling dead week?

“Guys are working at it. We will be gone this weekend but we are taking some tutorial help with us to get them prepared for next week. They are approaching it well from what I understand.”

Has the buzz for basketball this time of year grown since you’ve been here?

“You know, I don’t really know. I don’t get out of my office very much. The five to six thousand fans that have been showing up to the games have been great. Coaches really don’t hear much. We go to our office every day and we watch film every night. We don’t get out much.”

A couple of guys got banged up over the weekend, how is the health of the team right now?

“I think we will be okay.”

How is your back?

“I just turned wrong or something. Got the heat packs on it, but those guys heal a lot quicker than old men. Guess I just don’t have a strong enough core, got to work on it. But I’ll be alright.”

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