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Press Conference Quotes 1.8.08


Just as we did during football season, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight our wonderful head coaches weekly press conference for basketball.  This week we hear from Bill Self regarding the trip to East Lansing, playing Michigan State and playing in Breslin.

As far as players go Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich are featured this week alongside a couple of new faces in Quintrell Thomas and Mario Little...enjoy!!

Jump into the post for the entire press conference transcript...

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On the last time his team played
Michigan State:
“I think it was our second or third game, and the building was juiced. I could be off a little bit, but I think we were both preseason top-five or top-seven. It was a great atmosphere, I remember we played great, got a lead and then they just ran it right down our throats and got back in it. But it was a good game, really a fabulous game.”

On this year’s Michigan State team:
“They’re as good as what their preseason ranking was. They’re a lot like us. They’re playing really well now. They’re a team that can obviously make a run at it and go to the Final Four. I like their team, I think they’re great at the guard spot. They have probably as versatile of two big guards or wings that you could have in Summers and Morgan, and then they have some guys that can anchor the side. They create some problems, and they are fast.”

On the
Breslin Center, Michigan State’s home court:
“It’s a great home court, just like we have a great home court. I’ll be honest- Arizona had a great home court when we went out there. This will be one of the best home courts we play at all year, and arguably could be the best. It will be jumping, I would think. I was at Illinois for three years and I only went to the Breslin Center twice because we had kind of a weird schedule. But certainly I’ve got an idea of what it’s like. It’s a fun place to go play. You need to be really focused and tough. And poised.”

On the physicality of
Michigan State:
“They have a reputation over the years, for very good reason, of being a team that’s very physical based on the rebounding numbers and all these things. They’ve been dominant over time. We need to play more physical. We’re getting ready to play Michigan State and then we play Kansas State and they are a very physical team. Hopefully this game will prepare us for league play.”

On Cole Aldrich:
“Very rarely do you find a guy with a physical physique that thin. He’s a thin guy. You look at him and you don’t know he’s as athletic as he is. Maybe that is a little bit different. I think the way he is playing right now is how any coach would want their big guys to play. He’s being aggressive. I don’t want to get carried away, the
Tennessee game was great, he had seven dunks, but the reason he got those dunks was because other people gave him uncontested shots. I thought personally he played better against Siena because he scored real points where he had to go through people. The important thing Saturday is that he is a presence and is able to at least draw fouls and get to the free throw line.”

On Tyshawn Taylor:
“I think Ty has gone through a phase where I looked at him to be our best perimeter defender and he’s not being that. He needs to get back to locking in and respecting his opponent and really playing to his athletic ability at a higher toughness level. There’s no question about that. I think his focus should be ‘I’m going to guard, I’m going to run the team, I’m going to take good shots and make sure we get a shot every possession.’ For whatever reason, I don’t think his focus has been on what it should be, and I think he understands that.”

Kansas Junior Guard Sherron Collins

Michigan State:
“They are a great team. They are great in transition. They are tough. I think we’re ready for another road test. It’s going to be a fight, but I think we should be better this time.”

On how to beat
Michigan State:
“They can get out and run; they can get out and push the ball. They are the best team in the nation in transition. We have to do a good job of paying attention to the guards. We have to do a good job of trying to get back (in transition).”

On preparing for the tough games ahead:
“It’s been intense. Coach (Self) hasn’t let up, and we know we need to not let up. It’s going to get tougher and tougher. We need to go up to
Michigan State and hopefully come back with a win.”

Kansas Sophomore Center Cole Aldrich

Michigan State:
“They’re good. They are really going to pressure the ball on defense. They’re going to get out and run. They’re going to rebound. It’s going to be a really tough game out there.”

On playing on the road:
“We can’t let up. We had a lead at
Arizona and we let it go. One thing we have to do is get the lead and maintain it.”

On the team’s mindset:
“We have some confidence right now. We played a really tough
Tennessee team and a really tough Siena team. I think we played those guys pretty well. I think it’s going to be a really tough team at Michigan State. The Izzo fans are going to be pretty crazy, but we’re excited to get out there and play.”

On the fans at
Michigan State:
“A kid that I played high school ball with, he went to Michigan State. He told me he is one of the bigger fans out there. From what I hear they are crazy. They are going to ride us and say everything, but that’s what makes a road game fun.”

Kansas Freshman Forward Quintrell Thomas

On the upcoming Michigan State game:
“I think going up to Michigan State and playing a road game against one of the better teams in the country will be a good build-up to Big 12 play. We are going to have to learn to play in atmospheres like that.”

On if
Kansas is the underdog against Michigan State:
Michigan State is the favorite right now because they are ranked, but I don’t feel like we are second to anybody.”

On if they can handle the crowd:
“We should be able to, we just need to come in and feed off of the silence, instead of the cheering.”

Kansas Junior Guard Mario Little

On his mindset heading up to
Michigan State:
“It’s going to be a physical game, so we just need to come out with toughness and energy.  Last game I didn’t come out with energy, so Coach (Self) put me on the bench.  I need to come out with energy and help the team.”

On the challenge of facing
Michigan State:
“It’s going to be 15 against however many they have. We are going to go up there as a brotherhood.  We will have to play tough and be firing on all cylinders to get a victory.”