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March 20, 2008

Tim Floyd

Taj Gibson

O.J. Mayo


THE MODERATOR: We're going to ask head coach Tim Floyd to start off with a opening statement, then we'll go to questions for the student athletes.
COACH FLOYD: You credit Kansas State. They did a terrific job from the start of the game. You look at the rebounding numbers, that's the difference in the game. 44 boards to 27. We had had our struggles with rebounding for the most part all year long, but the last eight games we outrebounded our opponents and it didn't happen tonight.
Beasley and Walker had terrific nights. Pullen broke us down on the dribble in the final 11 minutes of the game and was able to get the ball in the middle for kicks, dishes and hand offs, thought Anderson did a great job on the glass for their team all night long with big offensive boards and finishes off of Pullen's drives and kicks.
We have been better in some areas that we weren't tonight. And I think the credit goes to Kansas State. We've had better ability to stay between our guy and the basket. We've had a better ability to rebound it.
We have had a great ability to keep teams off the foul line. We weren't able to do that tonight. And, again, you credit their ability to rebound the glass. I think they have 12 offensive boards at halftime. We had 11 total boards.
And really you don't have to go too far beyond that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes of USC.

Q. What would you guys say was the reason for that rebounding difference after doing it for eight games?
COACH FLOYD: Well, I would answer that. I would say their ability to anticipate, their ability to play with size, length strength. They brought guys back like Blake Young. A good rebounder. Dominique Sutton came back, had a couple of offensive boards in the first half. They came with multiple guys and they came with great athleticism to the board. That's a very good 11 seed team.

Q. Taj, how frustrating was it to be in foul trouble like that in the second half and did that remind you a little bit of the Arizona state game where both you and Davon were in foul trouble?
TAJ GIBSON: It was real frustrating, but the refs made the right calls, he's a hands off kind of guy, a little trouble with fouls. That's the way the game goes. My teammates, I have trust in them to play well. Unfortunately we didn't come out to win tonight.

Q. O.J., you and Daniel played the entire game. I know the depth hasn't been there all season for you guys as a whole. Did you ever feel like you're carrying a major weight on your shoulders especially when you're trailing?
O.J. MAYO: No, I don't think so. That's the whole reason why we have a strength and conditioning coach is to make sure you're in shape to play an entire 40-minute game, or even more. I wouldn't use it as an excuse.

Q. Talk about the slow start offensively both for you and for you guy as a team. There was one stretch in the first half where you guys go 10 minutes basically with one field goal.
O.J. MAYO: I think the man-to-man defense was aggressive. I think they got us out of the flow of our offense. Maybe certain shots that we took were maybe rushed, and give credit to Kansas State. They did a great job on the defensive end in the first half.

Q. O.J., you made the steel, got the 3-point play, put you up by a point, maybe the first lead you guys had all night. At that point did you feel like maybe things had tipped to your guys' side?
O.J. MAYO: I thought so. It came back from 10, had a lot of momentum. We made excellent plays on defensive end. We executed our plays right, gave ourselves the opportunity to extend the lead.

Q. Can you talk about your defensive approach early in the game and what Bill Walker was doing to do so well so early?
O.J. MAYO: Well, Bill's a great player. He has the ability to play the four and post any guard. And he also has the ability to go outside against any post player, use his speed and quickness. He did a great job tonight attacking the basket, hitting the jump shots and getting to the free throw line. I feel like maybe he got an early rhythm going.

Q. Could you just talk about your emotions right now. You guys are riding a high near the end of the season. I don't think anybody felt like your season would end tonight.
TAJ GIBSON: It was rough. I've been to the Sweet 16 last year. And then you turn around and lose in the first round, it's pretty rough.
But that's the way the game is played. We just didn't come out and play right. We got beat by a great Kansas State team. They outrebounded us. They played with a lot more heart than we did.

Q. Taj, O.J., could you talk about your future plans?
O.J. MAYO: I don't think that's necessary right now. I'm really accepting questions only on tonight's game.
TAJ GIBSON: Yeah, right now I'm just -- want to get back to my team and just worry about this whole process of taking this early loss and getting back to school.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen, for your time. We'll stay here with Coach Floyd for a while longer.

Q. Can you talk about the defensive plans tonight?
COACH FLOYD: We played man to man on makes with help off of Blake Young to Beasley and to Walker when they were in the interior.
We tried to box and one a little bit on made field goals with Daniel Hackett being the guy that was shading Beasley. When Beasley went out on foul trouble, he went to Walker. Those were the plans.

Q. Tim, obviously it's tough for a team to duplicate things as the tournament goes on, but if they get the kind of effort they get tonight and Beasley and Walker play like that, how far can Kansas State go?
COACH FLOYD: I think they're a team that has a chance to advance and go to the regional final. And I guess they've split with Kansas. They got an opportunity to play them on a neutral floor. They've got great, great talent.
When they rebound it like that, they can play with anybody in the country.

Q. Coach Martin alluded to the fact that he felt his team's depth may have caused some troubles for you. How much of a factor was that?
COACH FLOYD: I don't think so much the depth as the foul trouble that we had. You know, we've been able to play guys sustained minutes all year long. We played -- O.J.'s had many 40-minute games. Daniel Hackett is healthy from his injury, and he's able to play long periods of time. And he was a critical part to what we were trying to do defensively.
I thought he played well. I think the foul trouble, more than anything else, and Keith Wilkinson has come in in relief and done a great job for our basketball team. And you know they -- I didn't view this as a factor. Not as much as their ability to rebound it.
At halftime they had us, what, 11 boards? 10 boards? We were real tired at halftime.

Q. Going off that, how much of the rebounding disparity then was you guys simply not having enough bodies in there versus what they were doing?
COACH FLOYD: Well, I don't think we can blame anything. I think you look at Michael Beasley, 12 rebounds a game. You look at Bill Walker, great rebounder, Dominique Sutton, great athlete. Blake Young is a guy you probably don't figure coming back and getting seven boards. But he did.
Our inability to stop them defensively. Their efficiency on the offensive end, their ability to rebound the game, rebound the ball. That was the game.

Q. You got a lot of uncertainty with this team not knowing who is coming back and leaving going into next year. Could you talk about next year just looking forward going into next season?
COACH FLOYD: 96 percent of our scoring came from freshmen and sophomores. And we have a lot to look forward to.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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