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March 20, 2008

Darrell Arthur

Brandon Rush

Bill Self


THE MODERATOR: The No. 1 seeded and victorious Jayhawks are with us. We'll start off the proceedings with a statement from head coach Bill Self on the game, then we'll go to questions for just the two student athletes.
Coach, please.
COACH SELF: Well, I thought we played very well the majority of the first half and shot the ball great and got off to a pretty good start. And that was good, because I thought we'd have some first-game jitters. So second half we kind of puttered around. But all in all I thought we played pretty well.

Q. Darrell, did you all take too many 3s?
DARRELL ARTHUR: I don't think so. I think that was good shots. Guards got the ball where it needed to be. We just missed a couple of them second half, but I thought we did a good job shooting the first half.

Q. Brandon, did you expect to have any first-game jitters, or is it old hat to you by now?
BRANDON RUSH: Yeah, we expect to have a little jitters every now and then, but I think we played great. We played great in the first half. We made shots, like Coach said. We did kind of take a little bit off in the second half.

Q. For both players, was it tough to stay, maybe a little motivated in the second half when you built such a big lead or not?
BRANDON RUSH: No, no, not at all, because we know they're a good shooting team. They shoot a lot of 3s and that's the way they can come back in the game. So we tried not to take it off at all.
DARRELL ARTHUR: We knew they was capable of making the run, so we just tried to limit their touches and limit their opportunity to shoot the 3s.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We'll stay here with Coach Self for a while.

Q. Bill, did you all take too many 3s, and any fear that you guys could fall in love with the 3?
COACH SELF: No, I don't think there's a fear. But the way they play defense is, you know, wherever the ball is, their whole team tries to get to the level of the ball; it's called ball line defense.
And so wherever the ball is, they do a great job of really getting there. So most of our 3s, if I'm not mistaken, were off of, you know, forcing the defense to help and passing out of it.
So I don't think -- I think with the second half we shot -- may have shot too many. It's one thing to shoot them when you're making them, it's another thing to shoot them when you're not making them. Maybe time and score, guys were a little more relaxed doing that.
But I think maybe the point you're trying to make, which I would agree with, we can't -- we have to play through our big guys. And tonight we didn't do that as much, in large part because of the way they defended and how we shot the 3 in the first half.

Q. Do you have any preference on who your next opponent will be?
COACH SELF: No, no. If I did I wouldn't tell you anyway. So, but they're both good. I mean, they're both good. Scouts have been done on both of them. I've got to get busy because I didn't really get a chance to get ahead a game with the short turnaround. But the scouts done. I'm looking forward to watching a lot of tape tonight and tomorrow morning before we practice.
But either opponent will be very, very difficult. We'll have to play much better defensively in my opinion than what we played today.

Q. Is there an inevitability that the second half is going to be a little rough in a game like this?
COACH SELF: I think there's a lot of reasons why that could occur, especially during the NCAA tournament. You know, we're on a roll. You sit in there for 20 minutes. 20 minutes is a long time to sit in a locker room. And then that's not an excuse, but that's the fact. No matter how much you say, hey, the score is 0-0, let's go control the second half, they can look up there and they see the score.
And I thought we relaxed the second half. I didn't necessarily agree with what Brandon said, because I did think that we relaxed on the second half. We also did play a lot of guys the second half, too, and sometimes different combinations doesn't lend itself to looking as good as we did the first half when we only played basically seven guys.

Q. Obviously your team played well. Good energy, particularly in the first half, but just a little small question: I thought feeding the post was pretty sloppy and that's where my question about the too many 3s --
COACH SELF: It was sloppy. We had two or three uncontested layups if we had thrown the ball to the open hand and let them into the shot. And we underthrew like two or three of them. We're usually a better post feeding team than that. So that's something we definitely need to tighten up.

Q. You mentioned you thought you might come out with jitters; I'm assuming that's because of the NCAA tournament. But how pleased were you that you didn't come out that way?
COACH SELF: I'm pleased. You know, I mean, I love being a 1 seed. But I will tell you this: It is going to happen some time. And when it does, it's going to be the forever highlight that you're always reminded of.
So I could see -- even though you don't talk in negative terms, you can say, hey, we really need to come out and play well early.
I was glad we did that because it certainly eliminated any jitters or tension early to allow them to think that they had a good chance.
So not that they didn't have a chance, but when we got up 13-3, I think our guys felt pretty good about themselves.

Q. You said you didn't want to talk about the next game. But if it is a team like Kent State and you've played two MAC teams earlier this year, how much does that help you prepare for a team like Kent State?
COACH SELF: I don't know if it helps at all. To be honest with you, I thought Ohio and Miami of Ohio were way different. One plays fast. One plays not so fast. So I don't know how to help us.
And those teams are both really good teams, but I think this is a different level team. So I'm not sure that helps the preparation at all.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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