Rick Pitino and Chris Smith talk Notre Dame

Audio available here.

Rick Pitino

--Stephan Van Treese has missed the last two days of practice with a stomach virus, but should be back today (Tuesday).

--Rakeem Buckles will see the doctor on Thursday and everyone will know more then.

--Gorgui Dieng will not make the trip with the team to South Bend.

--Preston Knowles returned to practice yesterday and is good to go for tomorrow night's game. Preston is fine.

--Considering how long it takes players to get back into basketball shape after being injured for an extended period of time, we won't be completely healthy until late February.

--Notre Dame has great experience and is better defensively than they've been in recent years. We've had difficulty playing there, but hopeful this team can change that.

--Doesn't expect the Fighting Irish to employ the burn offense at home.

--His "we're going to win that game" comment on Saturday about the Notre Dame game was tongue-in-cheek.

--Ben Hansbrough is a legit national player of the year contender. Thinks Jimmer Fredette will win national POY, but would put Hansbrough at two or three.

--Have been pushing Rock Buckles really hard in practice. It might take him a while to get over his injury mentally, but he'll be ready physically. Hoping to have him back within the next week.

--Marra, Preston and Gorgui are all out-of-shape right now.

--Trying to get Kyle Kuric to drive the ball more and get 2-6 points on lay-ups. He's been doing it more in practice, but not in games.

--Notre Dame is just as good against zone as they are against man. Hard to get them to shoot an unusually low percentage. It's going to be a very tough game.

--Doesn't know how to get Peyton Siva any more rest. "DeJuan Wheat is not walking through that door."

Chris Smith

--The chance to play Notre Dame in South Bend is a big opportunity. This team could use another big road win.

--Is aware of what happened up there two years ago.

--There are no off-nights in the Big East. Much different than when he was at Manhattan. "Oh, we're playing Canisius? That's a night off."

--Everyone can shoot for Notre Dame. If we can contain the three-point line it will dramatically change the game.

--Have to counteract their size with our quickness. Backdoor pursuit is going to be big on defense.

--Once everybody come back it's going to be a big lift as far as avoiding fatigue at the end of games.

--Knows the season could go either way at this point. Could compete for a Big East title or plummet down the standings.

--TJ's playing his best basketball of the season. He picked it up because he knew the team needed him to. His confidence level and motivation has been a lot higher in recent weeks.

--Winning at UConn made this team feel like it can win anywhere.

--Nobody expected us to win this year. It's going to get even more fun once everyone gets healthy.

--The injuries have allowed people to get more experience than they would have otherwise. Now everyone knows what to expect from each other when they're on the court.

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