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March 9, 2018

Bruce Weber

Xavier Sneed

Makol Mawien

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas - 83, Kansas State - 67

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined now by Kansas State, Coach Bruce Weber and two student-athletes, Makol Mawien and Xavier Sneed. Coach, we will look to you first for opening statement on tonight's game.

BRUCE WEBER: Obviously, you don't have your first team All-Conference guy. You knew it was going to be tough but we talked about this is an opportunity. We've been through it before. Kam went down. The guys came together. Cartier stepped up. Other guys stepped up, and we had a great season. Now Dean is out. We felt it was best for him. He wanted to play. We felt it was best for him not to play and hope we have him healthy next week.

You can't plan for Barry going down on the first play. And he got poked in the eye and had very little vision. He wanted to play. He kept saying, I'm good and I held up how many fingers and he didn't know. So there was no way we could put him in. But I thought obviously these guys stepped up. We knew we could go to Mak without their big guy. He rose up and played well. Xavier did some really good things, 5 assists, got it into Mak, 12 points, went to the hoop, made some plays, I thought other guys, Amaad Wainwright stepped up, Mike McGuirl got an opportunity, took advantage of it. We pushed them, got it to 2. Xavier got the rebound and the shuffle and casual and they get the steal and go to 4 and then we have a couple of bad possessions. I thought the one was a travel when they got the three, and that pushed it back to double digits pretty quick and now you're chasing them.

But they didn't quit the whole time. I'm proud of them. We have a great group. They've been great since the beginning. They've had some adversity, and, you know, they've had courage all the way through. So you appreciate that and obviously we came here to win to try to get to the finals. We gave it a go. We it didn't have enough and they made some plays. Newman is playing at a high level. I thought we played pretty good D in stretches and then we would have mental mistakes at times and some switches and some reads and they got some easy ones out of it.

Q. Can you guys describe how hard it was to see Barry go down and have that physical reaction and how you try to move past that and get back in the game?
XAVIER SNEED: It was definitely hard seeing one of your brothers go down, but like Coach said, we all knew we had to rally back together and help him try to get the win.

MAKOL MAWIEN: Piggyback on what X said, it's tough when one of your main contributors goes down with injury and we had to step up and just step up and play hard.

Q. For both players, in what ways do you feel like yesterday's game and tonight helped prepare you for the national tournament? What do you feel like you can take from your performance here?
XAVIER SNEED: Definitely tonight without being with two of our All-Conference players, just showing that everybody else on the team, we got a lot of good rotations and got a lot of fight in those guys and hope we can do some damage in the tournament.

MAKOL MAWIEN: Definitely. I think just the competition, experience, really.

Q. Xavier, can you talk about Mak's game tonight? Is that something you've seen from him in practice? He's had some big games, but 29 from the floor. How well did he play?
XAVIER SNEED: Definitely seen it in practice before, knowing Udoka was out before, attacking on the inside was a big thing for us, and Mak showed up today and big kudos to him and he's made some big plays that he has been doing all year for us and he just showed up today.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, guys, thank you for coming and good luck next week. Questions for Coach Weber?

Q. Not exactly how you wanted to find out what else you had but what are your thoughts on the contributions from Mike McGuirl? Kam has probably had the most minutes since he's been back?
BRUCE WEBER: We had to scramble as a staff last night trying to decide if Dean doesn't play what do you. Then you had different people in there. Everything we have run all year has been through Dean. I was panicked with the coaches. We take Dean out for one minute and what do we do. So we kinda came up with five, six, seven different schemes, you know, if he wouldn't go and then at shootaround when it didn't look like Dean would go, we worked them today. We had a long shootaround. It was probably too long, just trying to prepare quickly and we had to do it not only defensively for their stuff, but trying to figure out what to score. We ran some of the same stuff we ran for Dean with post-ups and Xavier is a good post feeder. Mak is, you know, he's had a great tournament. He's played well. I've told him all along, you know, his time is to come. I knew he could score and obviously it's a help, you know. I think you had one injury with Kam and Cartier had the opportunity and he stepped up and now you have another injuries other guys stepped up.

Mike McGuirl, I said all along he was the surprise of our summer. He had some injuries himself. I really feel bad for him because he made the decision to come out of redshirt. But, you know, hasn't got the minutes that I would like him to get and I know he wants. But every time he's gone in there he plays hard for us, 4 points, no turnovers, did some nice things. Kam is still trying to figure it out and 1 for 9 is not going to get it, but I think this is good for him to get extra minutes. I thought Amaad was good, gave us good, quality minutes. All the guys than we want in there gave us something. So as you learn a little bit more about your team and a little more confidence if you have foul trouble or whatever comes down the road.

Q. Bruce, when Barry went down he went down in such a way it wasn't like, oh, he's going to be out. It looked like something devastating. How hard is it for players and keeping them composed and the challenge to you, you made all the adjustments without Dean coming and a minute 17 in that's thrown out.
BRUCE WEBER: Obviously, it's hard and I went down there. I was grossed out what I saw on Barry when I saw what happened. I thought he got poked, but you get close to him and it was a little scary. Hopefully he's okay. You can't plan for that, you know, and knowing this game means so much to Barry. His family flew in today. He said, "Coach, I'm glad we won because my family was coming in today." And then they don't even get to see him play. You gotta give our guys credit, you keep battling, make adjustments. We got the ball to Mak. We thought Udoka Azubuike could score inside and we did and a few mental mistakes after we pushed it to 2. We could never get over the hump.

Again, we got a great group. I'm proud of them. I thought we defended well at times, but once in a while some mistakes and some of that is you got guys in different spots that haven't guarded some of the actions and that and they made mistakes. Obviously, Kansas is good, No. 1 seed. We just played TCU and they're a six seed, 20th RPI, played them to the wire in an overtime game. Now you play Kansas, No. 1 seed.

So it was a great opportunity for our guys to learn and keep growing as a team and hopefully, you know, we got some good things left to get everyone healthy and play at a high level next week.

Q. Bruce, as of right now do you expect to have Barry and Dean for the tournament?
BRUCE WEBER: I would say yes right now. Again, they have an ophthalmologist looked at Barry quickly. They're doing some tests on him. His eye was damaged, hopefully not too severe that he can't come back. Dean, you know, again, we just thought, he wanted to play, we could have played him. But, man, you know, it goes sour and now we don't have him next week and we didn't feel it was worth the chance to do that.

So just hope and pray for the best. That's all we can do with both those guys. I hope we get 'em both back, but we showed without 'em we're still a pretty good ball club.

Q. Kind of keeping in the national tournament vein, Bruce, yesterday you talked about how you felt like the win over TCU basically secured you a spot in the national tournament. What influence do you feel like the team's performance yesterday and then tonight will have in terms of regional seeding if any?
BRUCE WEBER: I hope we're in. We finished fourth in the best conference. We finished in the Final Four of the tournament. You swept quite a few teams, and, again, we gotta see. I hope it is. We came back tonight and I just looked at my phone briefly I had 40, 50 texts, people saying unbelievable effort by your kids and with all the situations you still competed with one of the best teams in the country. I think we had a good showing. We've had, you know, a good league showing, some good wins and I think we have a good team. We've worked hard. I told them after this is what you work for, to get this opportunity and hopefully we get that opportunity and make a go of it next week.

Q. All the road guys Missouri has played with, maximum effort today, next-man-up mentality. Can that be continued when the two main guys come back, you think?
BRUCE WEBER: I hope it gives those guys a little more confidence. Obviously, we've talked about it. I think I mentioned to you guys a couple times we've put some plays in for Mak because he's gained confidence and he's scoring, even facing up, doing stuff out on the court, you know. I hope Kam can be a little more solid for us. Mike McGuirl, I'm not afraid. He guards. He's got some bounce. Amaad got confidence tonight. Got to be in his hometown, play well. I think it all helps. You get a gut check game, get a foul trouble, something like that. These guys have been through it, a very tough tournament, a very tough league and hopefully it prepared them for what's coming up next week.

Q. You lose by 16, but you mentioned the pride you had and the effort. What was the message to your team as you went into the locker room after this one?
BRUCE WEBER: I'm proud of the effort. They didn't quit. We cut it to 2, made it a game. Very easily could have laid down. It's one thing with Dean and another thing with Barry, but even Coach Korn mentioned it, there are no moral victories. We came here to win. We did compete and that was my big message today. They were hanging their heads. When we said Dean is not going to play after shootaround they were hanging their heads. They had chapel, and even the guy that does our chapel mentioned, man, their spirit is down. I grabbed them. I never talked to them at pregame. I grabbed them and I said we've been through this before. You've stepped up, and they stepped up. Never could have anticipated that you wouldn't have Barry for what did he play, 1 minute, maybe?

You know, again, we came here to win the whole thing so you're disappointed. But you also have to move forward and hopefully be ready for next week.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much. Best of luck next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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