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March 25, 2016
Q. When you look at Villanova right now, I mean, you guys, just as well as you're playing, are they the hottest team in the tournament, the way they're dominating games?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: I think we're both pretty hot.
Q. Can you elaborate on just how dangerous (indiscernible)?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: I think they're great. I think they can score from all different places on the floor. I think they can guard. They really get after it. They switch defenses a lot and they're a tough, scrappy team.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Not too much. We hang out all the time. We enjoy being around each other. We don't really do too much around the hotel. We sit around. Just hang out. We're a group that likes being around each other so we don't really have to do much to have fun.
We just don't really do much.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Probably Lagerald. Lagerald's probably the funniest on the team. He can do impersonations of people and stuff like that so he's probably the funniest.
Q. Do you find yourself watching our games? What are your impressions?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Definitely. Just as a basketball fan, it's probably the most NCAA -- the most of the NCAA Tournament I've watched in the past two years. Usually, the past couple years, I've shut it down. But it's fun to just watch it. Just as a basketball fan, just watch it and just take in the whole experience.
Q. What have you thought about this year's tournament?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Oh, definitely, it's been great. It's been a pretty historic one. Teams with the comebacks and stuff like that, big shots. It's just March.
Q. When you were a kid, who did you root for? What were your favorite moments that you watched growing up from the NCAA?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Being from Boston, I didn't root for anybody too much. I was always -- I may root for the underdog at times, stuff like that. But I always wanted, since I was younger, just great games. Those overtime games is always fun to watch.
Q. What do you guys do to keep yourselves motivated at this point in the year? The championship is pretty motivating enough. But have you done anything to say, hey, we still have to have this chip on our shoulder, anything like that?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: We just build off of our accomplishments. We don't want to rest on them. We really focus on getting to that next point and focusing on the task at hand.
We've been focusing on two-day tournaments every weekend, taking it one day at a time. Now we're at the second game.
Q. How does coming out of the Big 12 Conference benefit you guys in the tournament? A lot of people say Big 12 is the best conference in the country. I guess that's arguable.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Oh, it benefits us tremendously because we've been playing against top-notch talent all year. We've had those barn-burner games, those games that go into multiple overtimes, stuff like that. It's been great preparation.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: We rest, we get treatment. We're young guys so it's not really too daunting on us. But it's all about just resting and relaxing and not getting too overwhelmed by the moment.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: I don't think so, not really. I think Coach will bring up some stuff, but not really. I don't think so.
Q. Wayne, you mentioned a moment ago you get caught up in the moment. Can you tell that this is different, this atmosphere and what's at stake here is different than maybe two weeks ago, a week ago?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Oh, yeah. It's intensified. Media's intensified a little bit, especially being up here right now. But we're not really too focused on the outside stuff. We know once we get on the court, it's what we've been doing all for the past couple months.
Q. Your impressions of Villanova's guards and their 3-point shooting?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: They're very talented. They can score from all places on the court. They guard, and they can really get in the lane. So we've just got to focus on keeping them out of the lane and playing them off the 3-point line.
Q. Is there a team in your conference that they remind you of a lot?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Not too much. Maybe a little bit like OU offensively, maybe. But not too much on the defensive end. They really guard. Maybe with their intensity, but not the same structure.
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Because he's a guy they can throw it to and he can score on the low post.
Q. Jamari was talking about you having scouting report meetings in your hotel room. Is that your idea?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: No, it was Frank's. We do scouting report every night as a team, but the guards meet before. And Jamari's a part of it because it's in my room. He's my roommate. So it's all the guards and Jamari. And we meet before scouting report every -- before every game.
Q. What's the goal to do that?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Just to really key in on stuff and really focus even more and just get more in depth and to have everybody on the same page.
Q. What do you think guys gain from it by having that?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Just more knowledge of the team we're playing.
Q. When did it start? Big 12 Tournament?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Yeah, actually in Iowa it started, but we were talking about it for a while.
Q. Oh, in Des Moines? What made you decide to do it? Just Frank?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: It was Frank's idea, and I seconded him on it. We thought it would be good to really focus more.
Q. So does Jamari give the guards advice? Does he just sit there?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: It's actually helpful for him, too, because there's times where he can be guarding guards, because we'll switch. So it's helpful for him as well.
Q. Someone who grew up in Big East country, what appealed to you about Kansas? What did you like about Kansas?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Overall atmosphere and the situation, you know. The family-like environment, the history behind it. Just the greatness of the program.
Q. Did you follow the Big East basketball?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Yeah, definitely. I was a Big East guy growing up. I always watched and just thinking about that UConn-Syracuse game that went into four, five overtimes and stuff like that. Those are the games I watched growing up.
Q. What do you think about Devonte' playing 37 minutes yesterday, as sick as he was? What does that say about him?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: He's a warrior. We respect him. He was lacking a little bit of swag yesterday because of his sickness, but I'm sure he'll get it back tomorrow.
Q. Luckily, he's got a lot of swag, right?
WAYNE SELDEN JR.: Yeah, definitely. A little bit for him may be a little bit too much.
FRANK MASON III: I think the other guys on the team take pride in defense. Starting with me. I have to have energy and bring that toughness so my teammates can be right there and do the same thing.
Q. They're a team that plays with a lot of passion and will. Arch is probably the heartbeat of that. How much of a challenge is that for you, what might be a one-on-one matchup?
FRANK MASON III: Well, it's not all about me and him, but it starts with us because we're the point guard for both teams. So, like I said, I take a lot of pride in guarding. It showed over the past few years. I think my teammates do, too, and I think we all will lock in and do the things that we can do to help each other and make sure that we're successful on both ends on the floor.
Q. Frank, Coach said this isn't the same team on defense from January to now. What do you think is the biggest difference in the progression?
FRANK MASON III: I think guys are doing a better job focusing on scouting report and watching film and really locking in and seeing what Coach wants us to do on the defensive end.
I think Coach obviously knows what he's talking about. Like I said, guys are just locked in and really doing things that Coach want us to do. It's really helping us.
Q. Do you watch the scouting report more intently? How did that change, what you got out of the scouting report?
FRANK MASON III: Well, we watch film different times throughout the day so we get a good feel of what they do on the offensive end. We come out, and we have in our mind and we know their plays or whatever they call. Like we know their actions or what they're going to do. You pretty much just put yourself in position to cut that off and make them create something else.
I think the guys just do a good job with that.
Q. How many times will you watch film, say, today?
FRANK MASON III: Today, probably three or four times. I get the guards together and meet in my room separately, and we go over personnel and we go over our own scouting report too. So we meet different times throughout the day.
Q. Is it tough, quick preparation like this?
FRANK MASON III: I'm not sure if it's tougher, but we would like to have more days to prepare. But with the tournament, it's game after game. You only get one day in between. So we'll just take whatever we can get and however many hours we can get to go over the scouting report and just do everything we can to make sure we know all that, everything that Coach wants us to do.
Q. I know it was a couple years ago and has no real bearing on this game tomorrow, but when you lost to Nova, that was your freshman year. You guys were ranked second. You obviously came to Kansas not to lose. Do you remember much about that game? I know Arch hit the big shot. Do you remember much about that and sort of how you felt after your first taste of kind of a loss here?
FRANK MASON III: Yeah, well, it was a pretty tough game. It was competitive the whole way. I think it came down to the end. I was in there. I think I had a pretty decent game. Coach left me in as a freshman.
We had a rule to where you can't show on an out of bounds, no help out of bounds. I kind of helped on another teammate for his guy. I kind of lost Archie, and he went off of the double screen, knocked the shot down.
As a freshman, I made a mistake and let him hit the three to go up. I think that's where they won the game.
Q. How long did it take you, as a freshman, to get over something like that? Next day, or did that stick with you for a little bit?
FRANK MASON III: It stuck with me for a few weeks. I was really thinking about it. I was thinking that it was my fault at the time. As a freshman, I really didn't know what to do. But I think I came back stronger and really locked in and really paid attention to detail since then.
Q. That game means nothing tomorrow, I'm sure, right? Too long ago?
FRANK MASON III: Yeah, it doesn't mean nothing now. We have bigger things to focus on, and that's tomorrow's game.
Q. Kansas has so much great history, Phog Allen, James Naismith. Is that something that gets talked about? Is there anyone on the staff or even among the players who is kind of the unofficial historian who brings things up like James Naismith and Kansas basketball?
FRANK MASON III: Sometimes, but not a lot. I think the guys know how great the tradition here is at KU, and I think the guys take a lot of pride in keeping things the way it is at KU. I think they do a great job with that.
Q. Are there any former players you guys hear from? I guess probably old teammates of yours.
FRANK MASON III: Different guys. We hear from Sherron Collins, Tarik Black, different NBA guys and different guys that have been through the process and the program and know what it takes to win.
Q. Frank, Wayne said that guard talk was your idea, the meeting you have in your hotel room. What made you came up with that idea?
FRANK MASON III: I just know how important it is, with it being a one game at a time, it's win or go home. So I just decided to get all the guards together an extra 15 or 20 minutes before we head down to scouting report with the coaches and really go over everything and question them and make sure they know everything that's on the scouting report, because they really need to know it during the game.
Q. How did you approach that with teammates? How did you guys start it, I guess?
FRANK MASON III: I just -- one day I just thought of it. I said as a leader, I need to get all the guards together, really make sure that they understand the scouting report and understand what we want to do so we can execute that and give ourselves the best chance to win. It's really been working for us.
LANDEN LUCAS: So I didn't really fight him for catching the ball, and then, you know, I just took the charge when he lowered his shoulder.
Q. You guys are winning battles, smaller front lines and now bigger front lines. Is it your versatility? What is it about the bigs unit as a whole that allows you to win these battles?
LANDEN LUCAS: Really, what it is is Perry because he's so good at guarding. He can guard inside or outside and he's so versatile on offense and defense. And then we have Jamari coming off the bench that can do the same thing so we can switch with them if we want or we can let them guard a big man if we want.
And then I'll just take care of the five after that. So it really makes us a team that can adjust to different kind of playing styles.
Q. You came to KU to be in this situation, to get to the Final Four. What would a run like that be for you, a guy who's been here four years now?
LANDEN LUCAS: It would be huge. That's why you come here. We still have goals to accomplish and so we're going to take it one game at a time, but we know that this is a championship game for us, just like the last game was. We'll go out there and compete. I have confidence in my team that if we play our basketball, we'll be successful.
Q. Are you taking on the personality of Coach, or is he taking on the players' personality?
LANDEN LUCAS: I think that we kind of feed off of each other. We go off of personality and the way he is. But he enjoys coaching teams that can compete and pretty much take on personality.
So it works well for each other, and we're definitely feeding off of him.
Q. Which ways have you seen your influence rub off on him?
LANDEN LUCAS: Throughout the year, he's been disappointed with our competitiveness and our energy and enthusiasm and the way we get after teams. Recently, he hasn't seen that and so when we're playing like that, I feel like he feels like he can ease up and just enjoy coaching us and just kind of let us play.
It works for both of us very well.
Q. Landen, what's the last couple months meant to you personally? You've got your chance, finally, to really get on the court for extended minutes. You took advantage of it, obviously.
LANDEN LUCAS: The biggest thing about it all is that we're winning. Obviously, if we were losing, this wouldn't be as big of a deal so I'm just happy that our team is winning and that we're advancing in the tournament because that's the main goal.
And if I could envision being a part of a team that is one game away from the Final Four and being a contributor to it early on this season, I would have been very happy and taken that in a heartbeat.
So I'm in that situation now, and I don't want it to end.
Q. What impresses you most about Villanova?
LANDEN LUCAS: They are very, very experienced team. I know that we played them a couple years ago and they had the same leaders that they do now. And they're hot right now. They're making shots. But we like that because we know we can guard and teams that are making shots, if they stop making shots, it might be a foreign land for them so far this postseason.
Q. You've talked about as long as you're winning, everything is fine. But a lot of people say you're one of the reasons why KU is on this hot streak, because when you went to the starting lineup, you lost one game in 18 tries. So obviously, you're doing something right. Tell me about your intangibles and your attributes, what you bring.
LANDEN LUCAS: I just try to bring whatever it takes to win because I know that if we win, that's the best thing that can happen for me. The pie gets bigger as we win more and more. And for the things I do, it just works out on a team that gets wins. So whatever the team needs at that particular moment or game, I'm willing to do, and we've definitely stepped up as a team and made the adjustments that we needed to go on that run.
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: We thought we were actually trying on defense and doing our jobs, but once we watched film and seen how bad, like, we looked on defense, it kind of helped change our mentality.
Q. Did you see that yourself?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Definitely, yeah. Yeah.
Q. Was that before the game that you guarded Buddy Hield?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: No, that was even way before that. That was probably -- are you talking about at Norman?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: No, that was once we lost to Oklahoma State, it was early in the season.
Q. Does Villanova remind you of Oklahoma or any other Big 12 team at all?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: You could say that because of the way they shoot the ball and the way they get after it defensively. They don't trap like West Virginia, but they kind of pressure the ball and stuff like that, get in passing lanes and stuff like that, like West Virginia and kind of Oklahoma.
Q. You didn't have a big scoring game last night, but you were talking about the defense and everything. Usually, if there's a group of four guys who usually scores points, there always seems to be one guy who has a low-scoring game but the other guys pick you up. What's that rotation of play feel like that?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: That's good for us. You never know who is it going to be on any given night. So we just try to stay aggressive. If you're not scoring the ball or anything like that, you just -- it doesn't really matter. You just got to be effective in a different way. It could be on the defensive end, it could be shutting a guy down, making rebounds, stops, making plays.
Q. Even though you know you can win that way and help out in other ways, it does create a certain sense of determination in the following game if you haven't scored many points in the previous one?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: It really doesn't really matter. You can't think about the last game and if you played bad or anything like that. We got the win, so that's kind of -- you kind of got to move on from it and just be ready to focus on the next game.
Q. It seems like you guys got Maryland to crack a little bit in the game last night. Villanova seems to be a team that's maybe more tough-minded. Do you feel like you're going to have to work a little harder to get a knock-out punch on Villanova?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Definitely. They're a great team. They've got great individual players, great guards, good big men. They can shoot the ball really well. No lead is really safe with them the way they're shooting the ball right now. We know we're going to have to lock in more defensively.
Q. The numbers they've put up, is it a personal challenge for your defense? They were 10-for-15 from 3. They're shooting with all these offensive efficiency numbers. They're quoting about it, best in the tournament. Does that create a further challenge for you?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Definitely. We've got to -- any game is a challenge right now, so you just got to try to limit them on the 3-point line, but they're good at dropping the ball and finishing as well. You've got to be sound defensively.
Q. Devonte', when you said coaches showed you video of bad defense, what were some of the things they said to you specifically, like how was that message conveyed?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: It was just little things like if a ball screen was on one side of the floor, you know, we on the opposite side, you're hugging your man, not seeing ball and man. Just making bad plays like reach-in with three seconds left on the clock. Just little stuff like that.
Q. Was it ugly when you guys finally were shown it?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: It was definitely bad looking at it on tape. It looked way worse than it does in real life.
Q. Devonte', Frank and Wayne said the term "underdogs" last night. Do you consider yourself an underdog despite being a No. 1 seed?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Not really. Me personally, I don't think we're an underdog. People might pick a team for them to win, and people have their own opinions. But as the No. 1 overall seed, it's hard to say you're an underdog.
Q. Devonte', what can you tell me about the meetings in Wayne's hotel room, the guard meetings?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: We call it guard talk. We get scouting reports, so it's like we go -- just be in there on our own going over the personnel, see what these guys like to do, make sure guys are kind of quizzing on each other on if this guy likes to go right more or left more, what's his favorite move or stuff like that.
Q. Describe to me what it is. Do you use any TV at all, or is it just going through the scouting report? Do you quiz each other?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Yeah, we just have our scouting reports with us and we just go down each guard. I ask Frank, like, what's does this guy like to do? He'll tell me. And other guys put in their input on how to guard them and what's the best way we think we can defend them.
Q. Who's the best on the quizzes?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: I think we all do a pretty good job because we all just focus. We don't want to have what-if moments. Like what if I would have looked at the scouting report a little bit longer, what if I would have did this. You don't want to have no doubts after the game and stuff like that. So we be on it.
Q. Do you think this is part of the defensive buy-in you guys have had over the last few weeks to buy into the defensive part?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Definitely. When we guard and we've seen it happen, so when we guard and we're hungry on defense and getting after it, we know we can beat teams and it just motivates us to even guard more.
Q. Has that helped you in the game ever, the studying, the knowing this guy goes right or left or whatever?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: It definitely helps. You can kind of -- once you see it on film and the scouting report and you get on the court and the guy's actually doing what Coach and them said he was going to do, it makes it a lot easier to guard them.
Q. You're not the underdog. You're the overdog. What is the mentality that you try to --
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: Say that again?
Q. When you're the overdog instead of the underdog, what's the mentality you want to project?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: You've just go to have the attack mentality, aggressiveness. Coach always tells us to come out, be aggressive, punch them in the face first. You can't get hit first and then be leaning back on your heels playing on your heels the whole game. You've got to come out, be aggressive.
Q. Do you feel like players want to be the underdog or want to create the illusion that they are as a motivational thing?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: I think it just gives us motivation when people or ESPN people will just, you know, put us as an underdog, always have guys beating us and stuff like that. It's just motivation.
Q. Carlton said he doesn't want to be the guy that screws it up for the seniors. Being the only underclassman in the starting lineup, do you feel the pressure he feels, that you don't want to be the one that sends them out on the wrong note?
DEVONTE' GRAHAM: I think we all kind of feel that. You never want to be that guy who might miss a block-out or get a game-ending tip-in on you or something like that to end the season. I don't really feel that pressure. Coach has been telling us to play free, play to have fun, no pressure. So I don't feel a lot of pressure right now.
PERRY ELLIS: You know they're playing at a high level right now, shooting the ball. They get after it defensively. Just great players.
PERRY ELLIS: Stretch, like stretch four. Having a lot of confidence, knocking down some tough shots.
Q. Perry, what do you remember? It was two years ago when you played them. What do you remember? Basically the same lineup for Villanova. What do you remember from that game? Do you use any of that going into tomorrow night's game?
PERRY ELLIS: We'll look at some of the tape on that game. I remember it being close and hitting that game-winning shot late in the game. So I think we'll just kind of look at that film and just try to break it down a little bit.
Q. Do you think they're the same team? They're kind of like you guys, a veteran squad going into tomorrow's game. Are they kind of the same team you guys faced a couple years ago?
PERRY ELLIS: It's hard to say that, because players grow and get better. So that's tough to say. But same type of personnel, some of the same players there. So it will be good to look at some of the stuff from it.
Q. What's the secret, or is there one, to cooling off a team that's been able to shoot lights-out like them this tournament?
PERRY ELLIS: Getting after them defensively, just trying to create havoc. And it's all from an energy standpoint on the defensive end.
Q. Last night, for you, was that one of the games you were just feeling it out there?
PERRY ELLIS: Yeah, first half, just try to attack and knock down shots. So I kept trying to go at it.
Q. I think you only played 13 minutes that first half. You weren't in foul trouble. Was that more just to make sure you didn't get in foul trouble, going to save you more for the last 20 minutes?
PERRY ELLIS: I had one foul early. Just make sure I didn't get the second. I feel like kind of just playing me on and off.
Q. The charge at the end of the half, was that a big call? Could have gone either way, but saved you from the second foul?
PERRY ELLIS: I feel like it would have been a great -- it was a great play, momentum-wise, for us. Just try to sacrifice my body on that play.
Q. Are you and Villanova the hottest teams in the tournament right now, the way you're playing, the way they're playing?
PERRY ELLIS: We're two of them. All the teams that have made it this far have to be playing well to be here. It will be a challenge.
Q. How impressed are you by the way they're shooting?
PERRY ELLIS: Oh, very impressed. They're knocking down some shots and shooting a crazy percentage. So they're playing very well.
Q. Are they beatable? Are they stoppable right now, do you think?
PERRY ELLIS: Yeah. I mean, it all comes to the defense. Every team this March Madness -- every team is beatable. You just have to do the right things.
Q. You and Nova are two of the teams that catch the most grief for recent early exits from the tournament. How do you shake that off and understand the flack they're getting as well?
PERRY ELLIS: I feel like it was a lot of motivation from last year for both of us maybe. Using that as motivation for the players to try to get back and do well.
Q. Who is more motivated?
PERRY ELLIS: I mean, I know we're motivated as a team, and that's all I can speak on. I feel like we're great as a team and we're going to try to keep pushing.
Q. What do you remember about the game in the Bahamas?
PERRY ELLIS: I remember it was a close game. They hit the game-winning shot late in the game. It happens. But I feel like it's something we can kind of look at some of that tape from that game and maybe learn some stuff from it.
Q. They also have a guy who has been -- in Arch -- who has been there a long time who maybe catches some of the same jokes you get about Perry's been here so long, dot, dot, dot; Arch has been here so long, dot, dot, dot. Do you kind of just shrug that off this time of year and at this point in your career?
PERRY ELLIS: Yeah. I've been hearing it for a while now. I've been here forever. I'm just used to it now, I guess. Just comes with it. So, I mean, it's something I don't really --
Q. How has Coach Self maybe loosened up during your career here at Kansas?
PERRY ELLIS: I'd say just from a confidence -- he trusts us. I would say that's the word. You can really see how much he trusts us that we'll do the right things and just take of our bodies and things of that sort.
Q. He says one of your strengths is that you guys are playing free. You're playing loose. What's the difference between playing free and loose and playing out of control?
PERRY ELLIS: Playing out of control and tight, you're worried about each -- I mean, you're worried about the wrong things. You're playing free, you're living the game and just having fun and it's a different feel.
Q. Perry, Frank and Wayne used a term "underdog" last night. Do you consider yourself an underdog, despite being the No. 1 seed coming into the tournament?
PERRY ELLIS: I feel like at times people feel that teams have better players than us, and it's just overall -- it just gives us a lot of motivation.
Q. So you're using it as motivation going into these games?
PERRY ELLIS: Definitely. I mean, you just never know what people say. But we don't try to pay much attention to that stuff. But when you do hear stuff, you just try to use it as motivation.
Q. Perry, do you remember these guys from the Bahamas a few years ago?
PERRY ELLIS: Yes, I do. A lot of familiar faces from there. So just like us. We have a lot of familiar faces also. We've been here in the program and experienced a lot of different things.
Q. That was a frustrating game for you guys. What do you remember about it?
PERRY ELLIS: I remember it was a close game and they knocked down that shot. Knocked down that shot at the end. That was tough.
Q. You've had like 20-plus points in seven of your last eight now. What does it mean to you to be putting up those type of numbers this time of year in your last run in March?
PERRY ELLIS: Just trying to do whatever I can to win. That's all I'm trying to do. When we win, just knocking down some shots. Playing aggressive and something I'm not worried about. Just trying to win.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports