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March 12, 2017

Landen Lucas

Lawrence, Kansas

Q. Landen, at Media Day you talked about last year being so close to the Villanova game if you had one more shot. Here you are a No. 1 seed with a path that goes Tulsa, Kansas City, and then you're so close. Are you looking forward to this?
LANDEN LUCAS: I am, yeah. I mean, after last year, all that I could think of was getting back to that spot and having another opportunity. Up until this point we put ourselves pretty much in the best position that we can to do that. Now we've just got to go out there and make it happen. Looking at everything, this is exactly where we want to be.

Q. Feel different for you today? You've been through so many of these. You've been a 1 seed before, but senior year, add anything different for you?
LANDEN LUCAS: Yeah, a little bit. You know, just, you look at it and you know what to expect a little bit more now. You know just how focused you have to be for each game. So it was exciting for me, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting back out there.

Q. You know how well KU fans travel. Are you expecting big contingents in Tulsa, and then if you make it, Kansas City?
LANDEN LUCAS: Definitely. Hopefully we've got a lot of Kansas fans out in Tulsa cheering us on. And the biggest thing about getting the seed that we got is that we play in Kansas City. Our fans are great, especially helping us when we're going on runs or maybe coming back in the game. So we're all looking forward to playing in front of them in Tulsa and seeing them out there.

Q. Every player, every coach will say we're just focusing on the first game. But do you guys as a group allow yourselves to look ahead at who you might be playing just to have fun with it or what?
LANDEN LUCAS: Yeah, when the brackets are first released, you look at everybody. You look at what the path would be, because you envision yourself and expect yourself to make it all the way. But I would say as soon as practice comes tomorrow, maybe even a little earlier than that, you start focusing on that first game and that first weekend. That's a lot on the guys who have been there before, and a lot on the older guys to make sure we bring along everyone with us and we're all just as focused.

But you give yourself a little time to look at everything, and then you quickly go back to focusing on game 1.

Q. What were the last couple days like for you guys?
LANDEN LUCAS: I think it was really frustrating at first. Obviously, we wanted to be out there playing, especially guys won't be here next year, and you've got a limited amount of games. We had a goal we wanted to accomplish, but then we didn't do that. But I think quickly as soon as we got into practice, it turned into focusing on our next goal and knowing that we could use this time to get better, get healthier, get rested and get focused for the ultimate goal.

We tried to spin it as much into a positive as possible, and move forward after that.

Q. You've been through a few of these, obviously. How much of it does it change up your practice routine not knowing who you're going to play in that first round?
LANDEN LUCAS: It does a little bit, but our coaches do a good job of at least making sure that we're pretty well-informed on both teams, and then as soon as we do find out we'll put a little bit more focus into that team. We'll probably treat it the same way we would for the second game of a weekend, because we don't really know until the night before, pretty much, or the day before who we're going to play. Then we'll just prepare for that specific team after that.

You know, we've just got to go and make sure that we're on top of our game, and the rest will kind of handle itself.

Q. You talked about knowing what it takes and the focus that it takes in your players and all that stuff. Pretty confident that throughout the roster you guys are aware of that? I mean, you've got some young guys too.
LANDEN LUCAS: I'm very confident. Because I feel like the guys who are looked upon like, like myself, and Frank, and Devonté, and all the guys that have been through this before, we understand just how important it is to get everybody on board, and we're not accepting anything short of that focus, laser-sharp attention that is needed for each and every game.

So I'm confident in the whole team being focused and ready to go, and a lot of that comes on the older guys who have been through it, but we'll get them ready.

Q. Is it motivation that Iowa State is in the same regional and Oklahoma State, and you could play them?
LANDEN LUCAS: Yeah, that would be fun. Like I said earlier, it's cool to look at everybody in your bracket to see who you could potentially play. But we know in order to play any of those guys, we've got to make it out of weekend one, and we've got some tough match-ups. So we know just how important it is to focus on this first weekend.

Q. A former national champion, big-time coach, all that stuff. Is that just the way the game's going? Does that seem weird to you or do you welcome that challenge?
LANDEN LUCAS: I think we welcome it. I think it's good for us because in that 8-9 game to have two teams that have such a big name and great history to them, it's good for us. I think last year it helped us go out there motivated, ready to go. You could tell in that first half, I was watching the game not too long ago, and we were out there juiced up, ready to go, getting stops. And we should be either way.

But it doesn't hurt at all when you've got a big-name team you're lining up across. So we welcome it, and we're definitely looking forward to that match-up.

Q. Coach wasn't all that pleased on the defensive end of the floor in the last game and he said you he had to shore things up for a long tournament. What would it take to shore things up and what are the keys to that defensively?
LANDEN LUCAS: Well, we've been working on that a lot in practice and really it's making sure everybody's on the same page with things. We're communicating well. We're in the right position. Just small, basic stuff that you can fix in practice and work on. Then the last thing would be that you pay attention to the scouting report and understand that. And that's important moving forward, because we might not have seen too many games of the teams we're playing. So it's important to know their personnel and what they like to do, because that could be a big factor in these up-coming games.

Q. Do you know anything about those two teams, N.C. Central and UC Davis?
LANDEN LUCAS: Just got a brief packet on them, and we'll learn a lot more moving forward in tomorrow. They're good teams. They made the tournament. It's going to be fun for us just to get out there and play the game coming off of this last game. So we're looking forward to whichever team it is we end up playing and learning about them. We'll take it as seriously as you can, and I'll make sure that we go into the game juiced up and ready to go.

Q. What do you think about Villanova being the No. 1 overall and Kansas 2?
LANDEN LUCAS: I don't really know what the big difference is. I am happy that we got in the Midwest Region that we were looking for. Other than that, I haven't paid too much attention to that other stuff, or the importance of it. But, yeah, that's about it.

Q. Is there any incentive to get back to Kansas City just because of what happened there this past week?
LANDEN LUCAS: I mean, there's always enough incentive to progress forward in the tournament and not lose. But if it adds anything, we know that getting past this first weekend and being able to play in front of our fans for a chance to go to the Final Four is huge. That's what we played all regular season trying to set ourselves up for. Now we know that we're a weekend and two good games away from making that happen.

So it definitely is fun for us to have that option, and it would be cool for us to get back there.

Q. Is that a reminder that Kansas City offers no guarantees?
LANDEN LUCAS: Oh, this last game? I'd say so, but it can't hurt at all. It can only help. But I think wherever we played, I'd be confident in our team against anybody. We've gone into hostile environments and won. All it would do is just help us out and benefit us.

Q. You said you re-watched the UCONN game recently. How did that come about? What motivated you to do that?
LANDEN LUCAS: Well, I just recently was watching not only our games, but I tried to go back and find as many games from like the '08 team and some of the past teams. Not to compare 100%, but just to kind of see how they went about things, you know. Just kind of get a vibe for what made them so good.

It's fun because I picture us doing the same things they were able to do. It's cool to watch those games and really kind of see what made them so good.

Q. What did you discover?
LANDEN LUCAS: They were a tough team. If they were ever down in games, they quickly got it turned around. When they went on a run, their defense was unbelievable. They were flying around. They were all on the same page. I've seen flashes of some of the stuff that they've done from us, but the flashes are a couple minutes long, and I felt like they did a good job extending those.

You know, I watched a couple of their tournament games, and everybody was ready to go. I didn't really see anybody who would come in off the bench or start the game who wasn't prepared for that match-up. So that's how we have to be. Because if one or two people aren't on board, then we're not going to be able to advance.

Q. Do you think it helps the team getting a few extra days of rest in retrospect?
LANDEN LUCAS: Yeah. Like I said, I think we all would have rather been playing. But looking at it, it definitely helped in another way, because we were able to rest. I know the next day I woke up and my body was pretty sore and I was watching the guys play on TV. And I thought, well, okay, at least I do get to rest.

And I think the fact that we ended up getting the seed and the place that we wanted originally kind of helps us with that and feel a little bit better about things. The rest has definitely helped and also the extra practice time. These last couple days we got to get better and that's always a good thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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