Larry Eustachy Teleconference Highlights

Big 12 composed of great guards like Paulding (AP)

Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy spoke with the conference media Monday morning via teleconference about the importance of good guard play in making a run in an always-difficult Big 12. Among those guards is Missouri's Rickey Paulding, who Eustachy speaks of high of.

On effort against Nebraska: "We have to try at a high pitch to have any chance. It's hard to do that night in and night out. The players know. I say this all the time, but we're into grading these games out. When we're good, we grade out at about 200 or less. We graded out at 265 (against Nebraska).

"We caught a Nebraska team that has a ton of character and a great coach, so they're not going to lay down. We have to play better to do what we want to do at the end of this season."

On Missouri's Rickey Paulding as game breaker:

"I think there are a few of them in this league from the perimeter that can do it at his position. If it's not Andre Emmett, it's him. You're talking about professionals. I think he's a professional, so he does have the ability to do that."

On importance of guard play in tournament:

"I think if you go to the pro level, it's similar. All of the great teams have good guards. If you go to the high school level, it's about guards. But it's in college in particular, because the Kevin Garnetts, Tracy McGrady's, big guys, have left. (Guards) are usually in college. Usually you don't see a guard leave out of high school and go to the NBA.

"The front lines are depleted. Guards win games, they really do. They always seem to take the shot at the end to win a game, or are involved in the play that wins it. They control the game and play most of the court, whereas the front line guys don't.

"There's no question, when we had Jamaal Tinsley it wasn't coincidental that we won the league twice in a row. He was the best guard in the league. We had two other ones that were very good with him."

On guards in Big 12:

"That's why we've got all of these teams possibly going to the tournament. (Michel) Morandais is a great guard from Colorado. You've got Emmett. You've got tandems across the league like (Aaron) Miles and (Kirk) Hinrich, Mouton and Ford, then you go to (Ricky) Clemons and Paulding, and (Victor) Williams and (Melvin) Sanders or (Tony) Allen.

"But that doesn't even include the cream of the crop when you throw three of them in there with Oklahoma. That's why they're third in the country. I really encourage all of them to turn pro, even if they're not seniors yet. It would make me a lot better coach."

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