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March 17, 2018

Bill Self

Malik Newman

Udoka Azubuike

Wichita, Kansas

Kansas - 83, Seton Hall - 79

MODERATOR: At this time we'll get an opening statement from the victorious Kansas Jayhawks. Coach Bill Self, congratulations. Now it's on to Omaha.

COACH SELF: Thank you, very much. As everybody witnessed, that wasn't a thing of beauty, except the end score from our perspective. It was a grind the whole game, and fortunately we got a little separation and then we didn't close the game very well. But they made so many hard shots coming down the stretch, and we helped them by making some bony head plays.

But really proud of our guys, proud of our team and game which, if Udoka wasn't able to come back from his injury, we don't win. And usually Devonte' is a little bit more consistent, but we had Malik and a couple of others step up and make some huge plays. So I'm really proud of this group.

Q. What were your thoughts on Delgado? I mean, he's one of the -- 23, third most rebounds since 1973 in the tournament. Just seemed like he was kind of everywhere.
COACH SELF: What was my thoughts? I thought he was obviously the best player in the game. Well, Malik for us and Delgado for them. Well, Carrington was pretty good, too, but he was a man. He was a man. And we knew he was good. I really think not having Udoka in there more against him probably hurt us some, because I really think physically he was able to get the best of Mitch. And Silvio didn't get very many opportunities. But I think he's a terrific player. The thing that impresses me as much about him as anything, he never forces it. He takes his time and he's probably as good a passer as he is rebounder. He was great.

Q. Udoka, what did you think of Delgado, and how did you feel tonight? Obviously the team needed your minutes.
UDOKA AZUBUIKE: I thought it was great. Like right from the jump, we knew that he was really good at rebounding the ball and he's a force in the paint. Today he proved it. He came out, he rebounded the ball well. Like I say, I'm glad like I'm back with the team and I feel really good.

Q. Udoka, can you explain, how you went from three minutes to 22 minutes today? Was it the training staff? How did this develop in the last 48 hours?
UDOKA AZUBUIKE: Pretty much about my mindset. Like, you know, I knew coming into the game like my team needed me. And I told my coaches yesterday, because Coach asked me if I was good to go. I said Coach, I'm ready whenever you want me to. I feel good. I spoke with my trainers and the doctor and all that. They did a good job. They was like, you feel good and you can go.

So like Coach is trying to limit my time sometimes and I'm like, Coach, I'm good. I'm good to go. But like I said, yeah, I'm feeling good right now. I feel good to be back with the team. And like as soon as I stepped on the court, like I felt good and I was just good to go.

Q. Malik, did you guys expect that from Udoka today, his minutes?
MALIK NEWMAN: I mean, yeah, we did. Coach always been saying that once he come back he was going to be good, because like Udoka just said, his attitude been good, his mindset been good. And I think we have some of the best trainers in college basketball. So once we saw him out there, I knew he was going to be good. I knew he wasn't going to be shying away to his knee. So like Udoka just said, I'm glad he back, glad he with the team and moving forward. I think he can only play better.

Q. Malik, on a previous game Devonte' he hit 28 and then today you had 27, I believe. Can you talk about the versatility of the team and how you guys are able to have so many different options throughout games?
MALIK NEWMAN: I think with the way they coach players with the four guards and with the big man, I think anybody -- any one of our starting five always have a chance to go out and get 20 plus. And we're always capable of it. And, I mean, we just have different guys that can go out and make a play for themselves or make a play for others. I mean, we're versatile all over the court. I mean, we got a big fellow right here that we can throw it into and he can go get us 20 any given night. So it's a lot of weapons that we have to our arsenal.

Q. For the players, aside from Delgado, what did you think of the rest of Seton Hall's team and the way they kept rallying in obviously a very hostile environment?
MALIK NEWMAN: I mean, I think they was a good team. Like you said, I think the other guys, they did a great job, especially Carrington. I think he did a great job of scoring the ball and distributing it. The other guys, they were solid. I think they played their role, and we were just able to make them take hard shots.

UDOKA AZUBUIKE: Pretty much what Malik said. Like they're a really good team and real good coach. Delgado and the rest of the team, they are really good. And we just tried to contain them, make them take hard shots, and that's it.

Q. Malik, the last time Kansas played Seton Hall it was 2001. Do you remember what you were doing in 2001?
MALIK NEWMAN: No, I don't. Probably in somebody's classroom or somebody's gym. But nah, I can't think back that far.

Q. Malik, what did you think of the final couple minutes? You were going to the line and hitting free-throw after free-throw, and it was pretty frantic. What did you think of your clutch performance in the last few minutes?
MALIK NEWMAN: I mean, I think it was the four-minute mark timeout. Coach pulled us in the huddle and he just told us that we was in the bonus, so try to get down here and try to get fouled. And, I mean, I was able to be aggressive. I saw the seniors in the defense, and I was able to hit them quick. And, I mean, like you said, I was able to get to the line and knock my free throws down tonight.

Q. Malik, you guys shot 60 percent in the second half. How much did Dok's presence early in that half kind of set the tone for the second half shooting?
MALIK NEWMAN: I mean, it was huge. Like I said earlier, he's a guy that can go get 20 points. So he's definitely a focus on offense. So with big fellow in he was able to open the three point line for us and able to open up some drives. He made some terrific passes off the post. So just big fellow in there for us, it was huge because he got us going early.

Q. How much of a difference did the home environment and the fans make for you today?
MALIK NEWMAN: It was -- I mean, it was huge. Like I always say, it's not in the Fieldhouse, but it is home-court advantage for us. And those guys did a great job of when we were struggling, really didn't have anything going of giving us energy and pumping us up. So big shout out to the fans that was in attendance tonight.

Q. Malik, when Devonte' is having an off night shooting, what is he saying to the rest of you guys?
MALIK NEWMAN: He just tell us just keep being aggressive. Just go out and make plays, have fun. And, I mean, we believed that almost every shot he take is going to go in. So we tell him the same thing. And he just do a great job of leading us. And, I mean, if his shot not go in, just opening up seams and opening up open shots for us.

Q. You played to Malik late in the game. He found Svi for the three. That's usually Devonte's play. Can you speak to that moment for you guys?
COACH SELF: I thought that may have been the biggest play of the game when they made their run. I don't know what it was, four or five probably when he made the play. But he drove it like he's been driving it and they cut him off. I think Delgado cut him off and he was kind of trapped down there and was strong with the ball and everybody collapsed to him and he found wide-open Svi, which was probably -- Malik made some big shots, but that may have been as big a shot as we had in the game.

Q. Malik has been two games in the NCAA Tournament. What have you made of his performances in the two games so far?
COACH SELF: Well, I didn't think he had a chance to do as much against Penn. He only got about 8 shots I think against Penn. And today he carried us there for a stretch. In the first half, what did he have, 14 or so in the first half? I can't remember. He had 10 the first half and had 18 the second half, and certainly he made his free throws. He didn't turn it over. Almost made a bony head play against the press late when he pivoted to the baseline and threw it to Devonte', but he got fouled. But for the most part he played well. I thought he defended okay. Made a couple of bad switches or didn't switch when they made some threes late. But if you take away how we guarded the ball, you know, they made some hard threes there late, Carrington did. But if you take away how we guarded the ball at the end of the game, we actually played pretty good, but certainly our inability to keep Carrington in front of us certainly made the game a lot more interesting.

Q. Going into the game is that what you expected from Udoka, 20-plus minutes?
COACH SELF: I was hoping 20. That was what I was hoping. He could have played more, I think. I took him out there with about three left, I think, and turned out not to be a great play to take him out, obviously, because Delgado got his hands on a couple of balls and we still missed our free throws. But I thought he did great. I mean, he practiced one day in the last 11, and that was yesterday.

And the question was asked earlier, how did he go from three to 22, we were told that if he played a lot on Thursday he'd be too sore to play on Saturday, more than likely, so try to limit him as much as possible. And then he's going to be really sore tomorrow and Monday, and hopefully he can practice Tuesday through Thursday and get ready to go again.

But I thought his attitude has been great and he's matured so much. And he's really made -- in my opinion he was the most valuable player, because if his mind wasn't so right to get healthy that fast, there's no way we would have won that game.

Q. Coach, you like to break this tournament down to weekends. You won this first weekend. Can you share your thoughts on the state of this team as it moves forward?
COACH SELF: Well, I think in the NCAA Tournament you don't worry as much if you played well or if you played poorly. You worry more about did we advance. And I think that's all we did this weekend is we advanced. I don't think we were good against Penn, except for short stretches, and I don't think we were very good today, except for short stretches. And of course, Seton Hall had a lot to do with that. But we put ourselves in a position where hopefully we'll play much better next week and play our best ball. I guess we'll play Clemson or Auburn, if I figured it out right, which I think that's a pretty easy figure. And certainly we're going to have to be better, obviously, on Friday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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