Q. Coach, I know how important your team's fight is always to you. In the last few games, talk about how impressed you've been with that and how much you feel like the message was sent after the Miami game.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I don't know what message. I think we've played hard all year. We had one really bad game, and that was against Miami. I think Miami had a lot to do with that.
We're going through a period of adjustment without Ryan (Kelly). Those two things: a great team, Miami is playing great basketball, us not being ready to play at that level.
I think we responded well from that. We've had 19 wins. We've been playing really hard the whole time with our schedule. So knowing how to play hard together, that's the key thing. I think we're learning to do that better now with this group without Ryan.
We played really well on Saturday (vs. Florida State). Wake (Forest) played really well against us (last Tuesday), but down the stretch we executed well. That was a good thing to see. Hopefully we can keep improving.
Q. Do you anticipate getting Ryan back? Just your thoughts on State.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We're hopeful about Ryan. There's no timetable. There's no timetable. But we're hopeful that we will have him back before the end of the season.
State, they're a fabulous team, outstanding in all ways, but especially on offense because they're so balanced. They can really move the ball down the court.
(Lorenzo) Brown I think is just terrific. As good in transition as any point guard in the country. (C.J.) Leslie, with his talent. And (Richad) Howell is just a very unique, terrific player. (Rodney) Purvis is playing even better. (Scott) Wood is dangerous. It's tough to defend them. (T.J.) Warren, Tyler Lewis played well on Saturday. They probably felt they should have won against Miami. They played a great game against Miami.
So they're very talented and good. So hopefully we'll do our best to try to win that game. It will be a very difficult game for us.
Q. How tough is it to replace the guy that runs your offense?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think it's difficult to replace any key player that you've had. Like in their case, certainly their coach can speak better about that than I can. He knows their team the best.
No one gets the ball down the court faster in transition than Brown in college basketball. Right away, as good as your transition is, it's going to be a little bit slower and not as creative. Against us, he had 13 assists, was like magical with the ball. I do think when they get into the halfcourt, the system they run, that can be replaced better than the transition. But just the presence that a guy like Brown has you can't replace.
Their kids stepped up and put themselves in a position to win, and that says a lot about the character that they have on their team.
Q. Coach, every year your team seems to take on an identity, especially when you hit conference season. What thus far is this Duke team's identity?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we're trying to find ours because we had an identity before we got into conference and when we started with those three seniors. I thought it was balanced, poised, we are a very difficult team to defend. We played good defense not forcing turnovers. We were hard to score against. That's a good identity.
Now we're trying to find a new one without Ryan. I mean, I don't have a name for it or anything. We played really well on Saturday against Florida State, so... I don't have some magical name for it.
Q. In terms of the last time you faced NC State, what do you have to do this game to help neutralize those three?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we just have to play well together. There's not one thing that you can do. They're all really good players. They'll put up good numbers. Hopefully they won't put up the numbers they put up against us the first time.
Q. Last week you played two games on the road. Against Wake you had a really tough three-point shooting game, but still pulled it out. Against Florida State I think Leonard said it was raining threes. Was that in any way a function of what you did on offense? Is three-point shooting just something that you can't project?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think it's a little bit of both. I think, one, shooting from the outside is less predictable than scoring inside. Even when you get good rhythm shots, there will be days where you don't hit a good percentage.
However, the key thing is taking your shots in rhythm and having them coordinated with what you're doing in the offense.
On Saturday, 30 of our buckets, 20 of them were assisted. We got it in the flow of the offense. Against Wake, I thought later in the game we did. The threes we hit were big ones down the stretch.
I mean, our guys, we tell them, Each shot is a new shot, don't worry about misses, worry about taking good rhythm shots, be prepared to shoot. A lot of shooting, good shooting, is preparation. If you can get it in rhythm with one of your teammates, rhythm passes, rhythm shots, the percentages go up.
Q. When you played State the first time, it was your first game without Ryan. Since then you've won three straight and seem to be playing a lot better. Can you talk about how much more comfortable you are with the new maybe temporary non-Kelly team than you were the first time you played them?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Actually we played them pretty well. I thought we played hard. We couldn't stop them defensively. A lot of people haven't. But we've played really well since the Miami game or else we wouldn't have won three games.
It's not a matter of looking back and, How did we do this against them? It's like, Who are we right now? Who are they right now? Let's get ready to see what happens with the groups that we are now, not who we were.
Thing about conference play, as you go on in the season, each week is different. You're a little bit different every week. Hopefully you're in the process of becoming better than in the process of becoming worse.
We got better last week. So we want to continue that no matter who we're playing. The emphasis really is on us, like, Who are we? Not that we're not going to have a scouting report and all that for NC State, but we just have to keep getting more comfortable with playing one another.