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Dennis Gates previews the Tigers’ upcoming battle at The Zoo

Coach Gates met with the media to preview what is in store for his team in Pittsburgh.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Gates met with the media to discuss how his team has fared during November, what he wants to see from the players moving forward and what it will take to win in Pittsburgh.

Dennis Gates | Head Coach | 2nd Season

  • On Pittsburgh’s men’s basketball program: “An unbelievable opponent opportunity. One of college basketball’s all-time winningest programs.”
  • “Great team, NCAA Tournament team coming off one of the most successful seasons they’ve had in a while. So, you look at their personnel. It starts with, top to bottom, they have unbelievable depth.”
  • Words on Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel: “Jeff Capel, I have so much respect for. Tremendous coach, tremendous background. (He) comes from a coaching family, starting with his dad, may he rest in peace, but also his younger brother, Jason.”
  • On playing at Petersen Events Center: “It’s a tremendous environment, being able to play there in the ACC as an assistant.”
  • On how he wants this team to achieve consistency: “You can’t predict the outcome of games, but you can predict it possession-by-possession and second-by-second. We just want to be able to make sure that our guys are consistent in their seconds.”
  • “All we want on the road against a great opponent is to have an opportunity at the end of the game. Ultimately, that’s what we gave ourselves at Minnesota.”
  • On Pittsburgh’s rebounding: “It’s by-committee, and they’re averaged 48 per game while only giving up 31 rebounds to their opponents. Some of that is because of the percentage they are shooting on the offensive end. There’s not many defensive rebounds for a team to get. It goes back to the character of their coach.”
  • More on Pitt’s strengths: “They’re forcing one more pass when you think you can shoot and they scramble to the weak side to make the extra play. They’re not giving up many turnovers, only 60 in six games. And they’re doing a tremendous job of getting to the foul line.”
  • On Blake Hinson, who leads the Panthers with 19.2 PPG: “You’re talking about an all-conference guy. It’s a precise 20 points, it’s not one of those 20 points where he’s taking 20 shots to get there. He has efficiency in his stats, and we have to make sure to not foul him. They have some great schemes and unselfish ways to getting him looks. He’s one of the top players in the country due to his versatility and ability to read the game.”
  • On Mizzou getting off to a fast start: “We got to be able to knock down our shots on the road and concentrate and not wait until the second half. So, we’re gonna go out there focused on being able to catch and shoot and obviously the environment will pose a threat.”
  • On what the team needs to do better on the road: “We got to have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance versus Minnesota until we started to take care of the basketball.”
  • “Being able to get to that free throw line. We were 15 for 24, you look at it from the standpoint of the one and ones we missed that was 15 for 30. We can’t shoot 50% on the road and expect to win a game, so we got to be able, however many free throws we get, we got to execute at the free throw line.”
  • On finding more consistency: “I think it comes game-by-game as you continue to get better. But also guys, you know their roles are definitive as you continue to play games.”
  • “I know just from conversations are guys are starting to fall and settle into their roles. The other thing that you look at is the big picture, the big picture of a season. Different things comes and goes and we just got to be prepared when our numbers are called.”