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March 9, 2007

Darrell Arthur

Sherron Collins

Bill Self


CHARLIE FISS: We're joined now by Coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks. His student athletes will be along shortly. We will call on you for your thoughts on today's victory over Oklahoma.
COACH BILL SELF: Well, I thought it was a grind-it-out game. Neither team was great offensively the entire game, but defense was pretty good. We were pretty still the first half.
I thought the second half at least we rebounded the ball better and our defense led to easy baskets which kind of gave us a little cushion.

Q. Bill, we've heard you talk many times about how you wish at times Brandon Rush would be more aggressive. That little spurt in the second half I assume is the way you like to see him play and if the answer is yes, what does that add to the big picture for you guys when plays like that?
COACH BILL SELF: Well, we're not going to be a real good team unless we have our best offensive players stepping up and making plays or taking shots.
He shied away from action the first half, I thought. We talked about that at half time. The second half, he was more aggressive. We still didn't shoot the ball, worked the flip. When he is aggressive, he gives us a whole different dimension because he can get an easy basket getting to the rack or he can make three or four threes in a ten-minute stretch. He just wasn't looking to do that at all the first half.

Q. Bill, it seems your players do a wonderful job on the sideline with their demeanor, not ever talking back to an official. It appears that you have stressed that. Would you address that?
COACH BILL SELF: Well, you know, we don't stress probably anything different than anybody else does, but that's just something you don't do. If you are focused you are always thinking next play. And I probably talk too much, but if players are focused, they can't let what just happened affect what's getting ready to happen.
Shady can tell you the same thing, I thought our body language wasn't good at all the first half. Body language, and if you look at our team, you should never be able to tell what the score is by looking at us. And so we don't do a great job at that, but we do a pretty good job with it, I think.

Q. Bill, are you concerned -- how concerned are you of your free throw shooting?
COACH BILL SELF: We talked about as a staff on the bench that we weren't going to talk about free throw shooting. But to answer your question, yes.
So, you know, 11-22, we got better shooters than what we shot. But I don't -- you know, we're not going to talk -- sometimes the more you talk about missing short putts or free throw shooting the more it gets in your head. I still don't believe it is in our head yet to the point where it's -- you know, we got a phobia about it or anything.
But, you got to make free throws in the post-season. Unfortunately today we didn't have to.
CHARLIE FISS: We are now joined by our two student athletes, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins.

Q. Sherron, had you a couple scoreless games heading into this game. Did that weigh on you at all? How nice was it to get the ball in the bucket a few times?
SHERRON COLLINS: It was nice to get going, to get started. It had no affect on us trying to come in and do -- as I normally do.

Q. For both players, could you both talk a little bit about what it means to you guys, when Brandon plays really aggressively like he did in the second half?
DARRELL ARTHUR: It means a lot because he is like our number one scorer and we look for him to score a lot. When he is doing good, the whole team just follow him and do good along with him.
I think he is like a good motivator on the court. When he gets going, the whole team gets going.
SHERRON COLLINS: Like I said, when he gets going, we got to look for him and get him the ball early, get him in the game, give him extra shots. He is a good shooter and a good scorer.
From him scoring to get going, generally it just goes to the whole team and gets us started.

Q. Can either of you talk about this wasn't a home court game for them at all with how the fans turned out? What do you think about that?
DARRELL ARTHUR: Our fans have been supporting us the whole year, they come during pre-season. They came to a lot of away games and they have been supporting us real well. That's what motivates us, too, on the court. Hearing them out there makes us play harder.

Q. Darrell, can you just talk about whether each team, I guess, Texas Tech or Kansas State, you know, give us your thoughts on both.
DARRELL ARTHUR: Both of them are good defensive teams. We play Kansas State, they beat us up pretty good. We got out with some wins. And Texas Tech is a great team. Probably one of the best teams in our league right now.
Them going against each other will probably be a real good game.
(Loud noise.)
COACH BILL SELF: Coach Knight have been here, he would have walked out right now. (Laughter).

Q. Coach, was the half-time speech that you gave to your team today similar to the one you gave against Texas in the regular season? Because your team came out in the second half with a fire lit under them.
COACH BILL SELF: No. Well, I mean, I just told them we could play better. And, you know, against Texas, it wasn't from lack of effort. It was they just whipped us.
Today, I didn't think we played with as much bounce and energy as we did in the Texas game, per se. So, you know, we were talking about more -- more about you know, playing with bouts of energy and that kind of stuff.
But, you know, first game, 11:30 game, we hadn't shot in the building yet. I think that it didn't surprise me how we played the first half, to be honest. I shouldn't say we played poorly because I thought OU really defended us well.

Q. Bill, is this the first time you have seen since Oral Roberts that's entirely your team, guys you signed and brought in?
COACH BILL SELF: If you say entirely, I haven't been at very many places very long. At Illinois we had Cook. My last year that was it. Last year we just had Hawk and Christian. I felt like this is -- I felt like this has been my team since the first day I got on campus.
People make too big a deal out of that. I thought it was my team at Illinois right off the bat. But certainly, you know, we've had time to recruit to our needs and recruit to a way we want to play, and our coaches have done a good job of going out and getting guys.

Q. Do you remember ten years ago this week you get an N.I.T. bid, you were overjoyed to get it at Oral Roberts? Kind of compare what it was like to be a young coach then, ecstatic to get an N.I.T. compared to the pressure that's on you now.
COACH BILL SELF: Well, you know, if we didn't want pressure we probably should have never moved to Lawrence. We like that. You want -- I love being at a place where there's expectations because that means you can usually get good players. But going to N.I.T. at Tulsa was a big deal -- I mean at ORU, that was a big, big deal.
I hadn't even thought about that until you mentioned it. But, you know, I think, relative speaking, at that time, that was every bit as big a deal as what we are going through now. The stakes are so many higher. There is just so much talk about it. It really is what coaches dream of, I think, and what they live for to be in positions like this.

Q. You guys were able to beat Kansas State twice this year. You lost when you went into Lubbock to take on Tech. Do you find yourself pulling one way or the other either for your team's matchups or what might be better for the conference as these two teams both sit there on the bubble?
COACH BILL SELF: If I told you what I really, really wanted, that would be bulletin board material for everybody else.
I will tell you this, we know we will play a good opponent tomorrow. And the K-State game in Manhattan, we were fortunate to win and Tech has already beaten us.
It will be a very hotly contested game either way.

Q. How important is it for Sherron to get his three-point shot back and can you live without it?
COACH BILL SELF: The way we are, it is usually a different guy or different guy's night tonight. We need to get all of our best players playing well. Of course shooting the ball is a big part of that. We have been so inconsistent doing that.
I think it will come back. He's not scared to miss. So he has got confidence to make them. I think he will make them. Certainly it was good to see him make a couple of layups today because the lid has been on the basket for about a week.

Q. Bill, I saw you out there and I asked this, but I would like to get your complete answer here. You're not unlike other coaches around the country in that you play players late in the game of a win. You left -- I guess your primary players came out at 3:40 and 1:30 in the game. What is the thinking of playing them that long?
COACH BILL SELF: Well, the only reason -- the only primary player that was in the game late was Julian and Julian hadn't played the whole game. I wanted him to at least see something good happen. That's all that was.
But I don't -- I thought we got our guys out pretty early and then I put everybody else in to sub and we didn't get a stoppage, that's why I called the time out. There is no rhyme or reason. We didn't try to score the last four minutes of the game either. There was no rhyme or reason. We weren't doing anything to try to embarrass anybody.

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