Despite his reputation as an underrated coach, Oregon's Dana Altman has received some criticism in years past for his lack of NCAA Tournament success.
Thursday's 68-55 second-round win over Oklahoma State will help shed that label, bumping his career tournament record to 4-8.
Q: You mentioned the rebounding advantage, how critical that was. What do you attribute your dominance in that area to?
A: We are the No. 1 rebounding team in the Pac-12. We felt going into the game that was the one area that we could dominate the game in. We really did. They're a plus one on the boards, but they like to go with that small lineup and really try to spread you out. And we hammered for the last three days, ‘Fellas, we've got to beat these guys on the boards.' And that's our advantage.
I know you haven't made a big deal of this, but Travis Ford was saying that to him it's been the talk of the tournament where you guys were seeded and clearly you guys were not a typical No. 12 seed. And he thought the committee would admit to that mistake. Would you agree with that?
Well, I don't know how to answer that. We went in the game feeling that we were a good basketball team. Where they put us, you know — we won the game, so I feel pretty good. I feel bad for Oklahoma State because they had a great year. I mean, they finished one game out of the title for the Big 12. We finished one game out of the title for the Pac-12. And we played well in the conference tournament. So, I don't know about all those things.
A lot of people would have expected Marcus Smart to have an edge on your guards because of his size. What did you guys do to counteract that and how important was that today?
I thought it was really important. Our quickness was important. I told (Dominic Artis and Johnathan Loyd), there's no doubt he's more physical, much more powerful than you guys are, but I really believed they were quicker. And we had to get him away from the basket and try to use that quickness. And I thought DA and Johnny did a good job of that. ... (Smart)'s a phenomenal player, and watching films, just the way he takes over games and the way he gets his team to play and the way he makes plays for his teammates, there's no doubt in my mind, if I was an NBA guy, I'd want him on my team. He's going to get better and better, and with that body he is going to be a handful. There's no doubt about it.