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March 17, 2016

Bill Self

Jamari Traylor

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Des Moines, Iowa

Kansas - 105, Austin Peay - 79

THE MODERATOR: Coach, congratulations and your thoughts?

BILL SELF: You know, I'm obviously happy that we won and we played pretty well in stretches, certainly fouled way too much, didn't guard near as well as what we need to guard in order to have a chance to probably advance, you know, past Saturday. So we gotta tighten that up. I do like how our bench played and I thought these two guys probably were the two best players in the game for us.

Q. Guys, can you talk about -- Coach Self commented the bench is key here. Can this team be dangerous if the bench contributes like it did tonight?
JAMARI TRAYLOR: Svi stepped it up today. He had a great game offensively, Lagerald was great off the bench, and it was a point in the game when they were in we were actually better than when the starters were. So I feel like we've got a deep group and got guys that you've gotta respect when you come out there.

Q. What was Coach's message to you guys coming into a type of game where you're seen as an overwhelming favorite and a lot of times that's how these 1 versus 16 games go? Given the role that you guys need to play what was the message that he gave to you and how well do you feel like you accomplished it?
SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK: It's always hard because it's first game and we need to gain confidence and just set a tone. We needed to win this game to go to the second round and for us it's just a game in the tournament.

JAMARI TRAYLOR: We just had to come out here, be aggressive, go out there, have fun, play together, and we gotta lock in on defense. Like Coach said, I don't think we did as good of a job as we could have. But I feel like we can tune it up a little bit better for our next game.

Q. Svi, what was it that got you going today? Couple shots early or what? You had a career-high game out there.
SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK: When I first got in the game I just tried to play defense first because if you're playing defense, offense comes naturally and I just made a couple shots and then it was just keep going.

Q. Svi, with Devonté, Frank, and Wayne having foul trouble, what did you think your role was going to be when them in foul trouble?
SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK: Today I was playing point guard and try to produce shots for the team instead of taking shots for myself.

Q. Jamari, do you see things like that from Svi in practice?
JAMARI TRAYLOR: Yeah, actually it's like that all the time in practice. He didn't surprise me today because I see it all the time from him and he just gotta stay confident like this and he can do a lot for us. I'm just proud of him today and I know he can keep -- he can do even better, actually.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Thanks, guys, congratulations. Questions for Coach Self?

Q. Bill, how are you?
BILL SELF: Good, Bill.

Q. Overarching question, 13 years into your Kansas career, you've been doing this a long time, has your approach changed how you perceive it and how you go about get you go your team ready?
BILL SELF: I don't know. I don't think it's changed much. I think that me personally, I think I'm a little bit more relaxed and looser this year than what I have been the last couple of years because our team's playing better or has been playing better and we kinda limped home the last couple of years with injuries.

So I think that may be part of it, but I -- if anything, I think, you know, they say the coach can -- I mean the players can take on the reflection, the attitude of the coach, a lot of times the coach can take on the attitude of the players and now here acting and playing and how focused they are and I think our group -- you know, we didn't do it second half today. But I think our group has been really, really good in that area over the last six weeks or so.

Q. Coach, 10 minutes, 7 points for Lagerald Vick, that's more than he had in quite some time. What gave you confidence in him that he could do that today and do you think he can do that heading forward in any other games?
BILL SELF: I don't think it's realistic to think he can come in and at the drop of a dime he's going to go out and get you -- what did he have, 7 points or whatnot -- and not kinda take over the game there for a short period of time where we kinda needed to get a little bit of extend the lead.

I do have confidence in Lagerald. He's our sixth perimeter player and a lot of times the sixth perimeter player is odd man out because we play 5, but he looked good today and he looked confident. And certainly Brannen's back has been bothering him and he didn't move very good today and the fact that, you know, you had all the starters in foul trouble we were going to play him regardless and he responded like he's supposed to. He was ready.

Q. Bill, you mentioned earlier that you guys fouled way too much and I'm wondering are NCAA games called tighter? Is there an adjustment there that players have to make?
BILL SELF: I think players have to make the adjustment, but today's game was called much tighter than what we probably have been playing, but, you know, I'm not saying right, wrong, indifferent, I don't think our players did a good job of adjusting at all. I felt like we were defensive on defense.

We really didn't create any type of tempo or pace defensively in large part because they were in the bonus if I'm not mistaken both halves by about the 16-minute mark so you play defensive the rest of the half. So that did not help us at all.

But you know what? We were in the bonus, too, so it was obviously called both ways.

Q. Coach, the value of having so many bench players perform well today as a group, does that boost their confidence as a group and especially right now at this point in the season?
BILL SELF: I think so. I think it's nice to see the ball go in the hole. To me, you know, if you're going to -- if the guys that would get the most confidence obviously would -- Jamari, I don't know if he scored and he was by far the best player in the first half because he changed the whole tempo and energy level. Svi, it's great to see it go in the basket. Lagerald hadn't had much time at all. So moving forward if his number is called I think that she had give him confidence without question. Carlton didn't have a Big 12 Tournament-type game that he's been having for us, but he was solid. And I thought Cheick, even though he was 7 minutes late I thought he was active and looked great out there.

It helps. I think most coaches would say they would like to see the guys that are playing the majority of the minutes play the best, but certainly in a situation like this, those guys kinda bailed us out.

Q. You said they were relaxed and loose and it reflects the players' attitudes. How important that for a No. 1 seed?
BILL SELF: I think it's probably important. I don't think our guys have felt pressure from being the No. 1 seed. What we talked about a lot, at least in the Big 12 and the Big 12 Tournament was to validate what had transpired over the last two months and they did that. But I don't think it's to the point that you need to validate anything anymore. I think what you gotta do, you gotta play hungry and you gotta play aggressive and you gotta play loose and you can't let other people play well. Certainly I think we accomplished about three of those things today, but we obviously didn't get the fourth one accomplished defensively.

Q. Going back to Svi again, he played three minutes in your last game was this a case of a guy getting an opportunity today?
BILL SELF: Yeah, you know, I would have liked to have played Svi more in the last game. The way West Virginia presses you want your best ball handlers out there and Devonté and Frank weren't in foul trouble and they weren't tired so you have those guys out there and if Wayne plays well there is not a lot of minutes to go around.

But I think today -- the fact -- he came in and I don't know if -- exactly what happened but he fired one right off the bat and I think it went down and then after that he was ultra aggressive the rest of the way. I thought his moves off the bounce were actual more impressive than maybe the shots off the catch. I thought he looked athletic.

Q. Bill, you mentioned the defense, you weren't thrilled with. Facing UConn on Saturday, what are the biggest problems that they be present offensively; and also, is there any mention just over the past two years what -- obviously a different make-up of this team, but can it be good in any way, what happened the past two years in terms of what happened in the next game?
BILL SELF: Can who be good?

Q. The fact that you have this veteran team that has been there?
BILL SELF: I think, yeah, experience is a good thing without question. I think that we can be a lot more aggressive. You know, usually when you're aggressive you foul less, when you're on your heels a little bit and you obviously allow other people to get in their comfort zone you foul more. I've looked at UConn, but I haven't studied them to the point I will tonight but we've got a good book on 'em and the thing about 'em -- they're really hard to guard because their players can all put it down and they can force help and force you to foul 'em.

Certainly with the way we defended the ball today we're going to have to correct that quite a bit, but we'll be excited and get together a game plan on how to best attempt to slow 'em down. But I'm really impressed with how good their guys are with the ball.

Q. Let's turn the equation around to UConn on the other side. Ollie said in the second half they felt like his team woke up and played tournament-level defense after a rough 20 minutes. They expended the perimeter and they have a top-5 field goal percentage in the country. Challenges on your side for making sure the offense does what it need to do while it still works inside out sitting 20 to 25 feet away from the basket all the time?
BILL SELF: Well, you know, why was UConn effective in the second half offensively? They were probably more aggressive and drove it harder and got downhill and that's something that I don't think you want to do against anybody that pressures is to play sideline-to-sideline or east-west, you want to drive it downhill to force help and they have a rim protector.

But they are terrific defensively, and we're going to have to have better ball and body movement against them without question. Certainly it will be a challenge, but, you know, we've shown that we can play pretty good offense against solid defensive teams. But they do certainly do some things athletically that certainly if you're not aggressive can give anyone problems.

Q. Bill, I'm sure you spoke to this in some way or another, but in the big picture sense how good is it for you overall to be able to distribute minutes like that today and maybe even see the guys in the last three or four minutes have some fun?
BILL SELF: Yeah, you know what, I think it's probably good, especially for Svi and Lagerald and guys that got confidence today. I think those are good things. But I don't know how you guys felt with that many stoppages and fouls and time outs being 5 minutes long each and you throw an extra one in each half, unless you're in major foul trouble I didn't see guys getting tired. But, certainly it's -- depth is really, really good. But I don't know that we would have to use that much depth moving forward unless we're in foul trouble.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Coach, congratulations.

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