Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks Talk Aggies Of A&M

Bill Self Press Conference
February 20, 2012
Lawrence, Kan.

Bill Self, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson stepped to the mic on Monday to preview the upcoming game against Texas A&M. The theme seems to be defense, low scoring slugfest and NOT overlooking this team heading into Saturday's matchup against Missouri.

Head Coach Bill Self

On low scoring games against Texas A&M:

"It started with Billy (Gillespie). He always tried to muddy the game up and then Turg (Mark Turgeon) was the same way. Of course, with Billy Kennedy, in our first game against them (Texas A&M) here, we labored to make a basket, but they did too. It's got a Big 10-middle-of-the-season type feel to it."

On what he likes about low scoring games:

"That's been a little over-exaggerated because I like it when we make shots and there's some free-flowing action. I do think if you don't play well, you have to find some way to make them (A&M) not play well also. A&M is very good about not letting their opponent not play well."

On how A&M has success:

"Long possessions and not giving up easy baskets. Those are things everybody strives for, but they are better at it than others. The other thing is they will use the shot clock offensively. A lot of times with teams that score points, the best offense is to not let the other team have the basketball for a long period of time."

On how his teams have success at Texas A&M:

"That's the kiss of death. The primary reasons we've won games there is because we've had good players and the good players are somewhat focused. That's a hard combination to beat. I do know that we will not mention Missouri except to tell them that we will not mention Missouri."

Kansas senior guard Tyshawn Taylor

On preparing to face the defense of Texas A&M:

"We just have to work our offense; don't try to take early shots and don't try to score on the first side. Even good defensive teams break down if you go deep into the shot clock and you work your offense. Our offense is pretty good so I think if we run it all the way through we can get some good looks.

It is one of those types of games where they muddy it up and sag in the paint (defensively). They won't let you get open shots, but they play you to be a three-point shooting team. We have to be patient offensively and still aggressive.

They sag in (the lane). They send guys to trap the post from the off guards or from post to post. They kind of play you from the three-point line and inside of that. You either have to make shots or work your offense and wait to see if they break down. They are a good defensive team so I am sure it will be a low possession game that we will have to grind out."

On evaluating Kansas' last game against Texas Tech:

"We have to continue to work and get better. We still had a bad second half. I think that is the main thing that I got from that game; we didn't play the second half the same way that we played the first. We have to finish out games. I think that is the biggest thing."

On staying focused on Texas A&M:

"We just have to play. (Texas) A&M is a good team and they always give us trouble, even when we play them here. We know it is going to be a good game so we can't look past them at all."

On how Kansas has been able to avoid overlooking opponents:

"We understand that every game is important to win a championship; every game matters if you want to win the Big 12. You have to beat every team at home and on the road. You have to play hard every night. I think we have been so good because Coach Self stresses that to us and that we can't look past opponents. Anything could happen, especially this year; it seems that a lot of upset teams are winning."

On playing on the road:

"We have to have a lot of energy; we have to match their (Texas A&M's) energy. We have to try and keep the crowd out of it because they have a good crowd. We just have to be aggressive. They are a good defensive-rebounding team so we have to crash the boards offensively and get extra possessions."

On if it is frustrating to face a defense like Texas A&M's:

"I don't think it is frustrating, you just have to stay patient and understand that it is going to be a low possession game that you have to grind out. You have to enjoy those kinds of games. You have to take advantage of the fast-break opportunities that you get and also when their defense breaks down."

Junior forward Thomas Robinson

On impressions from the team's first meeting with Texas A&M:

"We played pretty good but I know we struggled and if I remember right, we were down in the first half. They came in here and hit some shots so we have to go down there prepared because they're going to be a much better team now that they have their best players (Khris Middleton and Dash Harris) back."

On what makes Texas A&M so good defensively:

"Well for one, they've played us once already and two, they're a good defensive team for the 35 second shot clock and not many teams are good for those 35 seconds. Their transition defense was really good the first time we played them and it continues to be good."

On if it's difficult to keep the focus on Texas A&M with students camping out for Missouri:

"I didn't even notice them; but no, the Missouri game is two games away so we have to worry about A&M right now and I'm not even worried about Missouri."

On Kansas' transition defense:

"It's not anything you can coach and not something the coach draws up, that's all on us; that's all off of our effort and just making sure we're talking and getting back."

On if the team has found a way to bring effort every game:

"I think we're better at it - we're still not good at it - but you know, right now it's winding down and getting close to tournament time. We can't use the excuse that it's still early anymore because regular season is almost over."

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