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March 22, 2017

Matt Painter

Caleb Swanigan

Dakota Mathias

Kansas City, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Coach Matt Painter from Purdue. Coach?

MATT PAINTER: Obviously, we are happy to be in Kansas City. We have a tough challenge playing Kansas, a very athletic and quick team that puts a lot of people in binds with their ability to break people down off the dribble and their pressure defense. I've been impressed with obviously their guard play, Josh Jackson's versatility, Lucas's ability to post and play. I think he's a stabilizing force for them both ends of the court, but Bill's teams are very good defensively and play extremely hard.

So this is going to be a great challenge for us and proud of our guys to get to this point, and I know they're looking forward to playing against Kansas.

Q. You guys it seems have been very good at getting back on defense and keeping teams from burning you in transition. Obviously Kansas is great at that. Other than speed, what makes them so good at that and how do you put even an extra premium on it, if you do?
MATT PAINTER: We do put an extra premium on it. We're not going to do anything differently but we get two guys back. We try to pick up the ball as quick as we can no matter who we play. They're obviously great at it, but we can't help them. If you take bad shots and turn the ball over they make great plays. They're very, very good at that. They're also very good at having in between breaks, what I mean by that it doesn't look like there is much there but they got enough there to pull that quick three or break you down quick off the dribble and then get something, maybe not immediately. But they get something that first 5 to 6 seconds of having the basketball when it looks like your defense is set. We're just going to have to do a good job of taking good shots, taking care of the basketball and just trying to get our defense set and coral them. I don't think if you give 'em space in your one-on-one you're probably in trouble.

You've got to do a good job initially of getting the ball stopped by more than one person. They've got to see four eyes or six eyes and have two or three people there, but that's a tough thing to do and protect the basket. It's easier said than done.

Q. Based on what you've seen from Kansas on film throughout the season, how do you expect them to play Caleb Swanigan? Double a lot?
MATT PAINTER: That's what they normally do. If they don't believe you can score or you have enough to score against you they'll stay one-on-one.

I think their bench, the guys that come in off the bench they don't have -- they don't play 10, 11 guys. Sometimes you will have 4 or 5 huge bigs and now they're kind of like today's game of basketball, Josh Jackson being the 4. I would expect them to double, big-to-big. That's what they've done in their league against people that have quality bigs. If they stay one-on-one our guys just gotta make those reads and makes those plays.

Q. Based on that lack of front court depth that you mentioned, do you think you will tend to go to the two big lineup or match them?
MATT PAINTER: Depends. We kinda wait to see how the game evolves. Obviously we play that way, no matter what. We'll play -- we start smaller with Vince Edwards at the 4 and then whether he stays in or Caleb Swanigan stays in when Haas comes in. The thing that's helped us is Caleb Swanigan can shoot threes, so when you're bigger you have to worry about him shooting threes, too.

Kansas has been so good you through the years even though they're different this year at their high/low game, their two-game. And they've been very good at that and we've studied that and watched that because we've had a lot of size on our teams. He's been very good at that. We've had adjustments to what we have done, but Caleb Swanigan's improvement on shooting the basketball because Vince Edwards can shoot the basketball and when he goes to the floor he's improved in that area, and it's really helped us kind of have a balance.

Q. Coach, I'm sure you've seen four-guard lineups the previous round you did. When you bring in Isaac and he plays with Caleb, obviously there is give and take on both sides. Can you discuss what you've seen in the past going against the 4 guards with the two bigs?
MATT PAINTER: It's definitely the give and take. There is no doubt that they're going to attack us with that match-up. There is no doubt we're going to attack the match-up at the other end, and both teams are going to try to prevent that. Sometimes we do a real good job of noting that and other times we don't. We have confident players. We have some guys that can really shoot the basketball, so we'll have that match-up and maybe not go to it all the time with that lineup, because our guys are so confident shooting the basketball.

So I think that's going to be an important piece for us. I can't speak for them, is that when that does happen, you've got to utilize it, but you've also got to know that they're probably going to double you quicker then. When we are successful with that is just when we make simple plays. When he get away from things we try to split people, make a fancy pass or what have you. That's where we get in trouble. If we keep things simple, one-on-one, we score, we're pretty good; or if they double we get the ball out of our hands. You can't keep the ball in your hands if they double especially when they're long and athletic.

Q. Coach, this is a sidebar to the team match-ups but it's a fun sidebar that's deep in the tournament to have two National Player of the Year favorites matching up on the same floor. Can you comment?
MATT PAINTER: They've both obviously had a great season and great careers. A little bit different, you know, from our guy going from this year to the next year, he made such improvements.

You know, he's really kind of the poster child for today's player in terms of going in the draft, listening to what NBA people do and then improving on the things that NBA people told him he needs to improve on. He was not this good of a shooter last year. He wasn't in this kind of shape last year, his rebounds per minute, his decision making everything that they told him he need to do work on he did and he got better and his team has won.

We won our conference. We're here in the Sweet 16 and that's -- great things happen for players when their teams win and they have successful seasons and from where Frank Mason started four years ago, I don't know where he was ranked, but I don't think it was in the top 100 and to be in this position whether he gets the National Player of the Year or whatever, they're both probably going to get some individual awards. There's probably like seven or eight of those individual awards out there if I'm not mistaken.

So both of them had great years. We were able to watch him going against Iowa State and just so how good those guys are and how good the Big 12 is. The Big 12 is an unbelievable conference, so what he has done in the Big 12 speaks volumes especially with the people on his team. You have got Devonte' Graham and Josh Jackson. You've got a great opportunity to shine there, win your league for the 13th year in a row, that's pretty impressive.

Q. Coach, the perception is the Big Ten was down this season. I'm wondering what you saw as you went through the league and then if you can address the response so far by the Big Ten in the tournament?
MATT PAINTER: I think you had a couple teams in our league especially us and Wisconsin that had some opportunities to move into the top-10 and stay in the top-10. We got beat by Villanova and Louisville in nonconference, those would have been huge wins for us especially the Villanova game at home. Wisconsin had a tough stretch there at the end, but both of us had -- Indiana had a lot of injuries. So some things happened within your league and you don't do that, but it doesn't mean you tonight have quality basketball.

I think the fact that we didn't have somebody or two teams like in the top-10 I think the national media takes a hit to that and they try to take away from the quality of other teams. I spoke on it last week. Wisconsin, there is no way on earth they're an 8 seed if you watch 'em play and see how efficient they are. They're really, really good and you see how Michigan has played and obviously Michigan State won their first game against Miami.

But we have good coaches and good teams and I think it was maybe we didn't have quite the two teams that are normally in the top-10, 12, but we still had a good league and we have quality teams and coaches.

Q. Is there kind of a locker room confidence value in having beaten a team that won at Allen Fieldhouse this season?
MATT PAINTER: It's interesting that you say that because I didn't look past Iowa State or Vermont, but that was one of the selling points I had for Iowa State was the fact they won at Kansas and right away you don't have to say anything more to get respect for Iowa State and say, hey, this team went into Kansas and won. Right there everybody knows the success that Kansas has had at home over the years so Kansas was a selling point to make sure our guys knew how good Iowa State was.

Obviously Kansas had a better year than Iowa State and then they battled and they've been very, very good. Our guys have a lot of respect for their players, and when we got into that battle with Iowa State it was a tale of two halves, but we had a lot of respect for them and we have a lot of respect for Kansas and we look forward to competing against them.

Q. Can you speak to any experience you have playing in Kansas City even as an assistant head coach, take us through your time here in K.C.?
MATT PAINTER: I think it's the right thing. Anytime that you've had the season that Kansas has had, you've earned the right to be as close to home as possible. I think that you need to reward the people that have the best seasons. They had to go on the road this year and play. They had to go to neutral sites and play and look at their record. Look what they have been able to accomplish, so they've earned the right to do that and that's part of the NCAA Tournament. But I think it's justifiable.

Q. When you guys played in 2012 against Kansas it was really a chess match. I think throughout some triangle and two, you had the smaller team then, it's kind of flipped. How much do you anticipate this will be a chess match between you and Coach Self and how much of the game will be about adjustments maybe more so than most games?
MATT PAINTER: We have a couple different ways to play, and we don't like going into a game and say this is how we're going to play. We start the way we start and we sub in and Carsen Edwards can be an X factor. He's a talented guard and Ryan Cline is a guy that can shoot ball. The other guys have been very consistent in terms of their minutes.

So we can play a couple different ways and be able to adjust ourselves. Sometimes it's a little bit different when you have size versus having a lot of, you know, just guards like we did that year. We were the number one team in the country in fewest turnovers, that year. We're a long way away from that now, but when you throw the ball inside a lot sometimes it's hard to keep your turnovers down. They can do the same thing when they bring some of those guys off the bench with more size they can go small with Josh at the 4. They can put Josh at the three. It depends who is playing well for them. It was an interesting game to think we were going to get triangle and two in that game it was shocking at the time. We didn't mind it as long as we could play our best perimeter shooters. But our best perimeter shooters is one of our best defenders, too. So that chess match back and forth, but we had opportunities in that game to win and you gotta give Kansas credit because they made a couple of incredible plays to close out that game.

Q. That 2012 game was a memorable game. I remember Hummel had just played as tough as I have every seen. What's your memory of that game in terms of an emotional level outside the match-up? Is there sort of a -- do you guys hold on to that game? Use that as any motivation at this point?
MATT PAINTER: No, we don't. We don't talk about that game, just because there is nobody left on either team. The thing that I remember as a coach, if we would have kicked the ball in the stands the last two possessions we would have won. Our long shots that we missed led to scores. As a coach you don't think let's hold the ball here and D up. It's not football. You're be the battling for field position.

But I wish I would have there because I feel like if we'd have done that we would have won that game. We took a long three and they got a run out. I think it was an alley oop and we ended up turning one of those over too. We had a turnover into another run out, so if we would have held the ball and set our defense. As a coach you think differently. You don't think as a fan. When you're a Kansas fan you think Kansas made a couple of plays. When you're a Purdue fan you think, hey, we messed this up.

But when you are the coach you think, what could I have done differently and that's what always sticks in my mind.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for coming. Good luck tomorrow. We are now joined by the student-athletes from Purdue, Dakota Mathias and Caleb Swanigan.

Q. Caleb, how much easier does it make your job at the offensive end that you have so many good three-point shooters on your team?
CALEB SWANIGAN: Makes the game of basketball easier for a lot of people when you have guys that can spread the floor and shoot, so it helps that other guys can shoot and it helps me that they can shoot.

Q. Caleb, KU relies on Landen Lucas a lot if you were to get in foul trouble it would spell trouble for the Jayhawks. Dwight Coleby played pretty well in the last game. In general, do you look to go at Landen Lucas early to get him into foul trouble?
CALEB SWANIGAN: I don't make moves to get fouled. I just play hard no matter if they have depth or not because you've got to be ready to compete at any moment. So it's not a mindset of getting him in foul trouble. It's just you've got -- no matter if there were four Landen Lucas's, you've got to play no matter who you are facing.

Q. Your coach was talking about how Kansas, what they did this year deserves a quasi home game. You guys have played in tough places throughout the season. Does playing before a crowd that's not in your favor bother you at all?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: No, we've been in a lot of hostile environments playing in the Big Ten. It's not an easy place to play on the road. We've been to two Indiana two Maryland, two Michigan State, so I think that prepped us really well for this.

Q. Caleb and Dakota, who is the fastest team you played all year and how does Kansas stack up with that team speedwise? What else besides speed makes Kansas so good in transition?
DAKOTA MATHIAS: I can't point out one particular team, but Kansas will probably end up being the fastest, that's part of their offense getting out in transition. On our end we've got to get back and take smart shots, so they can't get out ahead of us.

CALEB SWANIGAN: What makes them effective is they're not just fast and skilled, they can shoot a high-percentage from three and guys that can make plays. They've got playmakers at four positions, so that's what makes them hard to guard in transition.

Q. Caleb, talk about what you did during your off-season coming into this year to prepare the season you produced? Is it fun to be in the tournament with two National Player of the Year favorites matching up against each other?
CALEB SWANIGAN: It's exciting and competitive and a lot of what I did was just continue to process. I started with working and things like that. Just stayed on point with that and made sure I didn't fall back and come back to school the same type of player but to get better.

Q. Guys, I was wondering, the Big Ten was considered to be down all season and now three teams have advanced to the Sweet 16 and I doubt that you're surprised, but what's your reaction?
CALEB SWANIGAN: We're definitely not surprised. Top to bottom Big Ten is one of the best in the country and that shows you in the tournament. We've got three teams here now and even our last-placed team improved a lot. I'm not sure where all the disrespect came from, but it's not valid.

CALEB SWANIGAN: Yeah, just because, you know, we didn't have one of those two teams, the big names like, Indiana, Michigan State weren't prolific powerhouses as they usually are. When that happens, if Duke and North Carolina had an off year, people would say the ACC is off, and I think that's more where it came from.

Q. Caleb, a lot has been written about the obstacles you have overcome to get to where you are now. A National Player of the Year candidate. For those of us in the Big 12 we have not heard the story, but could you go over the things that were important to you in being able to overcome those things?
CALEB SWANIGAN: Just have to have a resilience about you. That's the biggest thing. Separate off-court stuff from on-court stuff so it doesn't translate and make sure you just keep working toward being better every day.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys, we will let you go back to the locker room. Thank you for coming. Good luck tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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