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Kansas Basketball Press Conference: Jayhawks Preview Sweet 16

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Men's Basketball Press Conference
March 20, 2012
Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas head coach Bill Self

On if he is relieved to be in the Sweet 16:

"No, I think if you follow the NCAA Tournament for years the whole idea is to advance and win. I thought we made some unbelievable plays down the stretch to put us in that position. I thought Purdue played very well and we shot it miserably. I don't want to say `relieved' because that happened two days ago. Our focus is moving forward."

On if he planned on using the triangle and two going into the game versus Purdue:

"We thought we could use it going into the game. We've got that as part of our package. There are certain teams it will work against, but we thought if we couldn't guard (Robbie) Hummel when (Ryne) Smith was out of the game that there was a chance we could do it. He (Smith) was out of the game when we did do it."

On if the team getting down early contributed to not making shots against Purdue:

"That could be it, but there are a lot of times in basketball or life that you actually think you are shooting it the same way and it just doesn't go in. I think that can happen sometimes. That's just basketball."

On if Purdue defended Thomas Robinson as well as anybody has all year:

"I think they played smart. They basically said, `we're going to put two around Thomas (Robinson) and two becomes three because we'll leave Travis (Releford).' They basically just gave us shots. If we were a little bit better screening team, I think we would have done a little bit better job of getting open looks. Sometimes even if you don't guard a guy, but you fake screen and you don't do a good job screening, he can make it feel like he's close enough to make you feel guarded and I thought they did a good job of that. They made harder shots than we missed. That's the NCAA Tournament and that's how teams advance and that's why teams go home."

On if NC State is more of a traditional matchup:

"Yes it is more traditional, but their bigs are really athletic. C.J. Leslie is a three-man playing the four. It is much more traditional, so we can be who we are against them more so than we could of against Purdue because no matter what, either Jeff (Withey) or Thomas (Robinson) had to guard (Robbie) Hummel. That automatically puts us in a position where we haven't practiced that a lot."

On how he thinks Robinson is managing multiple defenders:

"I think he's doing okay. Thomas tried so hard the other day that he tried too hard. That brought up a tightness point. I think the longer that goes on and you feel like nothing is happening. He throws a jump hook to start the game and it's an air ball, so he doesn't go back to his jump hook and that's his best shot. We have to do a better job of getting him the ball in positions, but I've said all along it's easier to take a big out than a guard out. He's got to be a better passer out of it and move around a little bit more. If people want to double him, which naturally they could just like we double some guys, then you have to be good enough behind that to make plays. We have guys good enough behind that to make plays, we just didn't do it that night consistently."

On if Elijah Johnson's self-confidence has been his biggest road block this season:

"Self-confidence is probably too strong, but some form of that. It's like deferring whatever it would be, which I think confidence is a small part of that. Everybody's been on him all year long to be more aggressive. Certainly, he's been terrific the last three weeks. He's played his tail off."

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor

On the excitement level of the team for the second weekend:

"Everything that we did all year comes down to the next couple of weeks, so I'm definitely excited."

On if North Carolina State is a better matchup for Kansas than Purdue:

"They're playing three guards and two bigs. That's definitely how we want to match up - keeping our bigs in the paint where they should be. That's good, but N.C. State is a good team. They're athletic, and they play in a good league. I'm sure it's going to be a fun game. I'm sure they're going to come out excited to play and excited to be in the Sweet 16 just like everybody else."

On if last year's loss to VCU affects the team's thoughts going into the second weekend this year:

"We understand how we can lose if we don't come play our best. We're going to come out with a lot of energy and playing loose. We understand that any team can beat us no matter who they are. At this point in the season, it doesn't matter. There are 16 teams left, and anyone can beat you if you're not ready to play."

On the realization that his next loss will end his collegiate career:

"I can't think about that. I'm thinking about winning those games. I'm thinking about winning a national championship. That's the only way I'm thinking about leaving here. Going into the game and thinking, `If I lose, it's over' isn't even in my thoughts."

Junior guard Elijah Johnson

On what the team has focused on this week in practice:

"Bringing energy and not thinking we're tired. A lot of people are starting to think they're tired on different teams. I can tell. People from other teams think that they're tired and start to feel weak and vulnerable getting close to the finish line."

On if the team is better prepared for the late starting time this week:

"I don't think people expected that much down time having to watch the games like that until it started happening. Now we know you have to watch games all day, rest all day and get ready to play at night."

On North Carolina State:

"They're pretty big, but small at the same time. They have big guards, but their bigs aren't that big. (They're starting lineup is) 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-8."

On if the team has seen the tape of the Purdue game:

"Yeah, we watched film yesterday. During the game, it might come off a little differently because you have a task at hand yourself, and you're watching other things on the court whether it be a blockout or securing the basket. To actually just watch it as a spectator, I think it was a lot of hard shots that (Robbie Hummel) made. He's probably surprised he made some of those shots, too. Thomas (Robinson) was in his face on a lot of those shots, and Ty (Tyshawn Taylor), too."