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March 20, 2015

Landen Lucas

Frank Mason III

Bill Self



THE MODERATOR: Frank Mason and Landen Lucas represent the student body of Kansas. Coach Bill Self is in the middle. We will ask for an opening statement. Bill?

COACH SELF: Well, obviously we're very happy with the outcome. We did a lot of good things today; we did some things not so well, but for the most part we were pretty consistent and never allowed a really good team to make a serious run there in the second half. So proud of our team, and certainly it was nice to see the lid come off the basket.

Q. How close to full speed was Perry today? Were you surprised that maybe he wasn't more close to that?
COACH SELF: I think physically he's pretty good, and these guys probably know as well as me or better because they talked to him, but he's shown no indication of it bothering him during practice the last three days and that kind of stuff. He just doesn't have the same explosiveness, the same bounce. To me he looked a little tentative out there, very tentative; and he got off to a rough start, had a dunk that he missed and layup right after that he missed, and it looked like right after that he really didn't explode on it. I would say he's probably 70% today, with the potential to be 100% tonight, because I don't think it's anything structural.

Q. Frank, a lot has been made of your team's 3-point shooting and the struggles you have had. How nice was it, Coach mentioned it was nice to see the lid come off the basket but as a player how nice was it that several of you were able to hit today?
FRANK MASON: It was nice to see the ball go in the basket, gave us confidence as the game went on, and we were happy that we knocked down shots.

Q. Following up on that, knowing that you're going to play a lot of zone, was hitting those 3-pointers early, how important was it to get that lead?
FRANK MASON: That was very important, but we wanted to execute the game plan, get the ball to the middle and short corners to give us a chance to make the zone break down, but it was very important for our shots to fall, too.

Q. Bill, the last couple years in the first round your team kind of started the game a little tough. Was it on your mind to get out and get goin' and get a good start in this game?
COACH SELF: I think it's on coaches' and players' minds all the time, hey, let's get off to a fast start, so I don't think our mindset was any different. The difference was we got some easy baskets early, and I think Perry made a 3 early and maybe Kelly made a 3 early that kind of gave us -- made us relax a little bit maybe, but even with that said, we got the ball a lot the first half and didn't convert, a lot! I thought what we did best today was I thought we defended and rebounded pretty well the first half. I think that's what got us the lead. It wasn't as much making shots as it was I thought we really defended them well. But we did get the ball in tight a lot, we just needed to convert at a higher percentage.

Q. Landen, before the game Coach talked about competing against the zone by attacking it. Can you comment on the fire that Frank bought to the court to make that happen, to attack with an athleticism that maybe they hadn't seen much this year?
LANDEN LUCAS: Yeah, that was big for us. A lot of times when teams go to a zone, it makes you sit back a little bit and not be as much in attack mode, and Frank did a great job driving downhill and getting into the paint and getting it to the open people, so that helped us a lot starting off.

Q. Bill, the scoring was balanced today. What did you like most about that?
COACH SELF: Excuse me?

Q. The scoring.
COACH SELF: Was balanced?

Q. Yeah.
COACH SELF: Well I think that's how we've been. When you look at our team, basically we've had balanced scoring. Perry's probably our leading scorer and Frank's our second leading scorer, had 13 and 12, so it's not like we're just playing through one or two guys. And tonight Kelly made a couple of plays; Wayne, who has been on fire from the Big 12 Tournament, he got two fouls early and wasn't as much of a factor. I thought Devonte stepped up big the first half, and I thought it was nice for Brandon to make a couple of 3 shots also, so I think the balance for today hopefully will give everybody a little bit of confidence moving into the game on Sunday whoever we play.

Q. How important was it for Brannen to get those threes to fall, and do you think it had gotten a little bit mental up until this point?
COACH SELF: Knowing Brannen it's all mental! No, Brannen, he needed to see the ball go in the hole; and even though it may not have seemed like much and we shouldn't make much of it, but even the last shot of the game against Iowa State when the game was over, I thought it was nice even to see that go in the hole. He shot a brick -- he shot a good ball early that just didn't go in, and then he shot a brick after that, but you don't have to tell him to keep shooting it. So that was good. Everybody needs confidence, everybody needs to see it go in, and he hasn't seen it go in for two or three weeks, so that was nice.

Q. Frank, you had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Do you think this was your most complete game of the year?
FRANK MASON: I'm not sure, but I wanted to come out and do whatever it takes to get my team the best chance to win.

Q. You had mentioned the Big 12 funk yesterday to your guys. Also you get this kind of performance, but how much better do you have to be as you move forward?
COACH SELF: Well, I told our guys as soon as the game was over that we were okay today, we were pretty good today, but we gotta be better on Sunday, whoever we play, and I think they all agree. We were close to being good today, but we probably didn't quite get to where we needed to be. And certainly -- I mentioned it last night at dinner and then I think -- did I mention it this morning? I don't know if I mentioned it this morning about our league. It is an unbelievable league, and of course, the appearance is what do you do in the tournament. And so we got off to a rough start yesterday, but hopefully everybody will play great today and moving forward. I do believe that, you know, we want to carry the banner or whoever is standing carry the banner for the league, but the way I stressed to these guys is they need to carry it for each other far more than everybody else. The league is important, and we want the league to do great, but we really want Kansas to do well more so than anything else, and I want these guys to play for each other and enjoy as much fun as they possibly can with each other.

Q. Coach, despite some of the shortcomings that you're going to find when you look at the film, overall how gratifying was it to see two good halves put together which hasn't always been the case?
COACH SELF: I thought it was good. We came out and started the second half -- first of all, we had an 18-point lead with two minutes left in the half, and they go on an 8-2 run to end the half and so that wasn't good. And then they scored the first basket the second half, but we just laid down and didn't guard, so that wasn't good, but the guys responded. And I put a lot on Frank -- and Landen knows this, but when Frank is into it, he's always into it, but I mean when he's making sure that everybody is on point like he has been of late, I think it gives us a much better chance to play without the negative stretches because he's been right on point.

Q. Frank, based on what Coach just said, how do you take that? How do you play on point?
FRANK MASON: I just try to do whatever Coach tells me to do to give my team the best chance to win. There are a lot of things that I'm not good at, but he just keeps me motivated, tells me what I need to do, and I try my best to do it.

Q. Coach, do you care who wins this next game or is there a part of you that wants to play Wichita State?
COACH SELF: Well, whoever wins is who we want to play, so we'll just put it to you like that. I'm not going to say who I want to play or whatnot, because in all honesty, we're playing -- we're going to play a really good team that's very capable of having great success in the tournament, very capable of defeating us, and we're going to play a team that if we play well and force them not to play well, we will have a great opportunity to win. It will be an evenly matched game, whoever it is that we play, and certainly if it is Wichita State, you know, I'm glad -- if it is, then you can ask Gregg all the questions after his press conference because obviously we don't know yet who we will be playing, but it will be a big game for our state, without question. To me, if it's Indiana, we get a chance to play one of the most storied programs in the history of our game, too, so either way it will be tough, but we will look forward to whoever it is.

THE MODERATOR: Anything else for the Jayhawks? Gentlemen, thank you very much. Best of luck. See you tomorrow.
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