Press Conference Recap 1.15.09

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This week Coach Self previews the upcoming opponent the Colorado Buffaloes.  He also touches on the development of Markieff Morris and looks ahead to Texas A&M and a matchup with former Jayhawk Mark Turgeon.

On the player side of things, good friends Brady Morningstar and Sherron Collins check in with a few thoughts on Colorado.

Head Coach Bill Self

On Colorado’s loss to Missouri:
“They’ve always been a team that can statistically keep the score in the 60’s, so Missouri must have played very well last night. And of course playing away from home, it can get away from you sometimes. They’re a team that traditionally doesn’t give up points like that.”

On the talent of Colorado:
“I do see talent. Higgins is good. He’s in the top five or six scoring in the league and just outside the top-10 in rebounding from the guard slot. The way that they run their stuff is so much timing. They are young, and they do have talent. They have some big guys that can stretch the defense, which makes them that much harder to guard. Playing at home, they are usually better. I think they are very capable.”

On the Kansas fans in Colorado:
“We’ve always had great crowds in Colorado; I don’t know what it is this year. I think Colorado did something last year that you had to buy a three or four game package to come see us play but we still probably had 4,000-5,000 people there. So with it being a Saturday afternoon game, hopefully the weather is nice and our fans in that area and in western Kansas can get out there. It hasn’t been a home court, but it certainly makes it a better venue for us when we have that many people there. We’ve always traveled well there.”

On playing away from home:
“Our first two road games weren’t the easiest of tasks to go to and win. I don’t think too many people are going to win in Tucson or East Lansing. But I do agree, we need to have some success away from home and have some guys develop some confidence winning away from home, no question.”

On the upcoming schedule:
“I think that it is crucial. We have three of our next four on the road, and we need to learn to win away from home. So this is a crucial stretch, no question.”

On the starting lineup:
“If you look across America, very few programs start the same five every game. And we’ve been one of those programs. Last year, I think when we were healthy we had the same starting lineup every game. And the year before that, we started out starting Shady and he said he didn’t want to start anymore when he was a freshman. And then we basically kept the same starting lineup most of the year. I think people make way too big a deal out of that. I don’t think it makes one bit of difference who starts.”

On his team’s performance thus far:
“We’ve fought pretty well at home. We just haven’t fought as hard as you have to fight away from home. We haven’t grinded it out when things weren’t going well. The other night was good for us. I’m not saying we played great, but after watching the tape, I thought we played pretty good. I thought the reason K-State came back on us was more their good play than our poor play. Then I thought we finished the game very strong for the most part. Against that type of pressure, to have only 11 turnovers, that’s pretty good.”

On Markieff Morris :
“I think Markieff (Morris) is coming along. I think he has really improved a lot. You go back to Michigan State and he gets two fouls in three minutes and neither of them are his fault. It was kind of unfortunate. But there are some things he can do defensively, from playing his man before he catches it or playing his man before he gets in the area of where he wants to score, he can do a much better job with that. But I do think he’s learning. I think Marcus (Morris) is learning too. He had seven rebounds in 15 minutes the other night. I thought he did well. Certainly, there is still a lot they can learn by just playing. We can talk about it all we want until you’re put in the line of fire. It’s much easier said than done.”

On letting teams back in the game after building big leads:
“I think it’s a combination of playing at a real high level and then the law of percentages starting to prevail a little bit. Usually when you build a good lead, the other team has probably helped you get that lead, either by shooting quick, missing open looks or turning the ball over. Sometimes other teams settle down and play better. And sometimes you miss the exact same shots that you have been making. So I don’t put near as much stock in that.”

On Texas A&M and head coach Mark Turgeon:
“I saw the tail end of the game last night. It was a great win for Mark (Turgeon) and his program. I do know that A&M can come in and give anybody problems. He has a good team and they have athletes. We had two good games with them last year. Our roster is different, and their roster is quite a bit different. But the A&M game is a great storyline. You have a KU great, everybody loves Turge around here. If they don’t, they should. He was good for KU basketball in the time that he was here.”

Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar

On the upcoming game against Colorado:
“I expect them to play well at home. I know that we have a lot of fans out there that support us, which we appreciate. Hopefully we can go out there and get our first road win of the year and get a little bit of momentum going into Monday (against Texas A&M).”

On what they can take out of their previous losses on the road:
“I think we learned a little bit from each game. To win on the road you have to play two good halves, not just one and I think that will help us. I know Colorado is going to be a tough team, but every game in the Big 12 is tough and every game on the road is tough.”

Junior guard Sherron Collins

On what they need to do in the upcoming road game against Colorado:
“We have to come out and put two halves together. We have to be the aggressors on the road and hit somebody in the mouth first instead of taking the first punch and trying to recover. We need to come out and execute early and get good shots on every possession.”

On the Colorado team:
“They run an unorthodox offense that we won’t see the rest of the season.  I have seen it a couple times before from playing them in the past and it’s all back-cutting, so I think we are going to have to make some adjustments to all of that. They keep boring you and boring you and then back-cut you to get a layup.  It’s a difficult offense that they run so we are going to have to be focused.”

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