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March 8, 2018

Bill Self

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Malik Newman

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas - 82, Oklahoma State - 68

THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by Coach Self and the Kansas Jayhawks, his two student-athletes with us are Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman. Coach, congratulations on your victory.

BILL SELF: Thank you. It was hard fought and obviously getting behind 10 early isn't what we had hoped for. We couldn't guard 'em early, but then when the game settled in, Malik got on a role and basically carried us offensively the first half and we played better defensively the second half and made some time and plays.

Q. Malik, how much do you think today's performance not just by yourself, but by the team in general was fueled by, as Coach put it, the beat down that you got by Oklahoma State the other day in Stillwater?
MALIK NEWMAN: I mean, it had a lot to do with it. We wanted to come out and be aggressive and play tough because the last two times we haven't played tough against those guys, so we wanted to come out, execute the game plan and be tough.

Q. For both players, we spent in the media the first two-thirds of the season talking about what this team couldn't do. What is this performance tonight, missing your big horse inside, what does it say about what you guys can do moving forward?
SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK: I would say we just showed that we can play without Udoka, and we can win and he is a force for us whenever we want to and he can score, but right now he can't play and it's a little bit different team. We drove a lot more and we shot a little bit more threes and just a little bit different to play. We play a little bit faster and I would say a little bit more scrappy on defense, but it just changed us a little bit.

MALIK NEWMAN: Just to piggyback on what Svi said, the big fella, he's a key part to our team, but without him, like Svi said, we can play a little faster and be a little scrappier and the guards, we are able to dictate the offense a little bit more instead of trying to play through the big fella a lot more.

Q. Malik, career high for you today. Just talk about your confidence level coming into this game and then as the game unfolded. Did your confidence grow?
MALIK NEWMAN: Yeah, I had high confidence coming into the game. Coach has been emphasizing that the goal is to win games in the postseason. I know I have to be good as well as the other guards so I just wanted to come out, have a lot of confidence in myself, be aggressive and once I saw my first couple shots go in, my confidence did actually grow a little bit more.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, Svi and Malik, congratulations on your victory. Questions for Coach Self?

Q. Bill, knowing Oklahoma State rebounds like they can, like they did last night, knowing that you're missing Udoka down low, how did you mitigate that? They only outrebounded you guys 36-33. How do you mitigate that?
BILL SELF: I don't think we rebounded the ball that well. I thought we did a much better job of blocking out today even though they had a couple of -- like Cameron McGriff got a nasty dunk to start and I think when he got hurt he missed a dunk on a follow. But other than that we blocked out good until the last six or seven minutes, and we don't go after the ball with two hands like men do a lot of times. So we've got to improve there.

But they're physical and they crash, you know, with four spots as well as anybody we played all year. So we were better even though I won't be too giddy about it, I think tables show we can definitely rebound better than what we did.

Q. You are up 1 at halftime, one guy's got 20. You've got a lot of guys capable of doing that, did you just need somebody to do that today?
BILL SELF: We've got guys capable, but we haven't -- other than Devonté we haven't had anybody do that recently. Svi has shown he can do it. Malik has had some good games, Lagerald hasn't scored the ball in the last couple of months like he was early in the season. So even though we got four guys that can get 20 or 25 any night we haven't shown that we've got four guys here of late. Malik putting us on his back was huge.

To be down 10 early when they just kicked us last week and they were making everything it seems like and we're struggling. To have him put us on his back and get us to halftime with a 1-point lead and in the second half we just kind of pieced it together but that was big for us. Going forward without Udoka, especially, we're going to have to have some perimeter player play great, maybe two to play great to give us the best chance.

Q. Bill, thoughts on what the selection committee should do with your Alma Mater?
BILL SELF: Well, I'm biased, because they played us better than anybody has all year, twice, and I think they're without question a tournament team. I look he at the things the pundits but up there, the blind resumes, whatever, surely how you have played down the stretch and those sorts of things matter. In our league if you go 6-4 down the stretch you've played well considering all ten games are monster games. So I don't think there is any doubt Mike and his team deserve to be in and I would be very disappointed if they're not.

Q. It seemed like the first couple months of the season every time we did a press conference it was about what this team didn't have, what they couldn't do, what they needed to do. Have they shown us all something down the stretch here the way they ran way in the league and played shorthanded today?
BILL SELF: Yeah, I think playing today, one, the sample size is too small with just today, with Udoka, we're going to have to play well tomorrow without him and if we're fortunate enough to win, Sunday, but for one day, yeah, we got 14 and 14 out of our other two bigs, which was a positive.

This team is easy to nitpick with because when we're good it's magnified in ways because we can shoot and move the ball. When we're bad it's magnified in ways because we don't do the things in grind-it-out games that a lot of teams do.

So I think it's fair to say that this team leaves you wanting more sometimes, but to your point, in this league to win the league by two games, they're probably not saying that about Texas Tech and West Virginia. They're probably saying that was a great year and sometimes I think we get spoiled on what our expectations are.

But I'm real proud of them. I think they've competed hard for the most part, but the reason there is frustration is because I think the things we visibly see are things that we can control that we be don't do better at and we've still got to tighten up a lot of stuff.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll let you go. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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