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March 20, 2010

Cole Aldrich

Tyrel Reed

Bill Self


UNI – 69
Kansas - 67

THE MODERATOR: Being joined in the interview room by Kansas with Head Coach Bill Self and student-athletes Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed.
COACH SELF: Congratulations to Northern Iowa. I think we all did, we knew that they were a good team, very good team, sound, disciplined, and I thought they played a great game, and we tried real hard, just didn't make shots early and when we had a chance to do some things late just didn't make the play. But certainly very proud of our kids. I thought they fought hard to the very end.
THE MODERATOR: Questions at this time for the student-athletes.

Q. Tyrel, explain from your perspective, No. 5's basically game winning shot, the 3-pointer. What did you did you see? What happened?
TYREL REED: I mean, he just spotted up at 3-point line. I was kind of protecting the hole for a second. I really didn't think he was going to shoot it. I thought he was going to try to run some time off the clock. He did, and he made a great shot.

Q. Could both Cole and Tyrel comment on what the atmosphere was like in the locker room and what it's like having Sherron go out on this kind of note?
COLE ALDRICH: Obviously everybody is disappointed on our team, you know. To work so hard and to, you know, go through so much adversity that we did through individuals on our team and whatnot, it's disappointing that we couldn't have let Sherron go out in a better way.
You know, for me personally, Sherron and I have gone through so much, you know, and freshman year I was a little intimidated of him. And, you know, the summer after that, after we won it, somehow we became best friends and just saddens me.
TYREL REED: Yeah. I agree with Cole. Everyone is very disappointed, sad that it happened, especially for Sherron because he's the ultimate competitor. There's nobody I wouldn't go to war with but Sherron. He's the ultimate teammate, ultimate competitor. He's been great for this program, and I wish we could have sent him out on a much better note, but proud of our guys, still. We had -- you know, we had a good season, just didn't end the way we wanted it to.

Q. Both guys, if you could answer this. I know Northern Iowa is a quality team. Were they even better than you might have suspected?
COLE ALDRICH: I wouldn't say better than we expected, because Coach really did a good job on scouting reports, watching film. I mean, had everybody down to a tee. The first half kind of nipped us in the butt where we had spurts but we kept on fighting, and we just couldn't quite get over that hump. If we're coming down and -- in the halftime down four or even six, I think it might have been a little more easier for us to maybe come back. But I mean, coaches and all that did a great job of scouting report and preparing us. But, you know, it's a whole different game once you step out on the court.
TYREL REED: I agree with Cole. I don't think we overlooked them at all. I think we knew what they were capable of. They're just a great all-around team, plays in a tough league, and, you know, they got a lot of great players around them.
Our coaches do a great job game in and game out of having us prepared, and, you know, nothing more than that. We just -- you know, they made shots, and we didn't complete all of our assignments and rebound the ball very good, but give a lot of credit to Northern Iowa for that.
THE MODERATOR: Any further questions for the student-athletes? We'll dismiss those guys at this time. Questions for Coach Self.

Q. Bill, obviously this is the freshest loss, but is this perhaps your -- the toughest loss you've had, the most painful?
COACH SELF: I said in the locker room to the coaches, not the players, it probably is. And the reason it is, is a credit to the players, because, you know, you work your butt off for a long time, like they said. Of course, all teams work, I know that.
You operate under duress, you operate under pressures the whole year that a lot of teams don't operate under because of where we were ranked and expectations. And to put ourselves in a position that we were in, they don't come around every year. You got to make the most of those opportunities when you're granted them. That's probably what stings the most.
I don't know if I'll watch the tape. I know that there's just one or two plays here or there that was the difference in the game, but this stings a lot. Usually when you play your last game, if it doesn't go well, it's usually because you had to get a little bit out of character sometimes in how you wanted to play, and I think that happened the first half.
We would love to get after them, love to pressure, love to press even, but when they were in the bonus at the under 12 timeout, it maybe took a little aggressiveness out of us. I thought we were much more aggressive the second half than we were the first. It's a tough one.

Q. Bill, you're usually able to exploit some kind of weakness in your opponent? It just didn't seem like that ever happened tonight until late when you were able to apply some full court pressure and really rattle them. How much did you rack your brain trying to go through things that you could do to get them off their game a little bit?
COACH SELF: Well, you know, if you're going to play percentages, you know, we didn't expect big fella to make two 3s in the first half. If you're going to play percentages, we didn't expect him to turn over his left shoulder and shoot two fadeaways over Cole when we had them defended pretty well.
There were some things that happened during the game that I felt like that wasn't poor play by us, more so Northern Iowa really making plays. The other thing that they do so well is that they stretch the defense, and of course the little fella, he made -- he made some hard shots, but he made a couple the first half that I thought we defended pretty well. And then the last shot he made, you know, 7 second differential, you're going to shoot the ball with 30 on the shot clock like that. He even hesitated before he shot it. Give them credit. That was a dagger, and it was a big time play by a really good player.
But there was -- we -- we like to exploit certain things. Probably our best lineup was when we were pressuring. Unfortunately, that takes Cole out of the game some. We never really got into rhythm offensively, but, you know, I told our guys before the game, we're not going to get into great rhythm offensively. Expect that. Regardless of the situation, whether it's fast or slow, grind it out or whatever, there's a good chance that, you know, it's not going to be comfortable the whole time, and that was certainly the case.
I thought we tried so hard, maybe we got -- maybe we tried to score too quick there numerous possessions and wasted a couple of key opportunities.

Q. Bill, you pushed them into a corner there late and they came back and responded. You said yesterday this wasn't a Cinderella, but what kind of ceiling does this team have, do you think, this Northern Iowa team?
COACH SELF: Well, as long as you can shoot the basketball, you know, like they do, you know, you can guard them pretty well and they can still come away with 3 points at the end of the shot clock, which happened multiple times today.
And the other thing is, they do have an anchor inside, and he played great today. Whether or not he can make two 3s a game, other games, but he played great today, and I think their ceiling is very high, I do.
When the brackets came out, you know, I wasn't -- first game I looked -- first team I looked at was Northern Iowa. Lot of people talked about Ohio State or Georgetown or Michigan State or whoever, Maryland in our bracket. The first team I looked at was Northern Iowa because I know how they play, and, you know, in basketball the key to having a good team is to get easy baskets and not give up easy baskets. And they're a team that doesn't give up very many easy baskets.

Q. Bill, I did hear you earlier say if it weren't for the six fouls early in the first half, if not for that, you would have pressed earlier?
COACH SELF: I'm not saying press. We couldn't really do a lot of things out of that. It's hard to press a team when you got 16 fouls in the first half and you want to play your big fella and they're the best free throw shooting team in the country. That's -- or as good as any free throw shooting team in the country.
That took away some of our aggressiveness probably changing the defense the first half. I thought the second half we actually did a pretty good job.

Q. Bill, could you just kind of comment on the difficulty that Northern Iowa's guards present with Kwadzo being able to get in the lane and Ali being so dangerous on the perimeter?
COACH SELF: Well, he did, Kwadzo did get in the lane and do a nice job when he got in there because they can stretch it. They spread it -- playing four guards even though he's 6-8, brother is 6-8. And he did a good job of getting in the paint. I thought our ball screen defense was much better the second half, but they made some shots that certainly are hard shots, but still yet we knew that they could -- were capable of that, and really we didn't defend the 3 as bad as it appeared the first half because we gave the big fella two of them. We gave him two.
If you told me before the game that they would be really, really hot and their 3-point shooters would make 4, I'd say we probably did a pretty good job. Moran made a dribble, little handoff, pitch back three with the little kid, he made a couple really hard ones. We didn't do a good job on him.
The second half we defended the 3 a lot better. Here is a guy -- the guy has got guts because he's 0-6 the second half from 3. Seven seconds -- 7 second differential and he goes for it. Give him credit. That was a heck of a shot.
THE MODERATOR: Last couple of questions for Coach.

Q. Bill, you mentioned how much they disrupt, the disrupted rhythm, how it affected Sherron.
COACH SELF: A term that we use all the time with our team is defensively when you play man to man is to be strong help. That way not only is the guy who's guarding you, guarding you, but the guy's one pass away are also half guarding you.
Sherron had a hard time going around people in large part because they did a good job. Also that's the way they play. You have to drive a gap and pitch it to the next guy, and, you know, we got some good looks, but we didn't make them early in the game, and unfortunately, the good looks were few and far between. But I know we scored some out of pressing and kind of scrambling late, but, you know, 67 points isn't a bad number against this team. And so I thought it was more our inability to secure offensive rebounds late game than it was anything else as far as what really cost us the most.

Q. Bill, your players shared their thoughts on Sherron. Could you do so now?
COACH SELF: Yeah. You know, I feel the same as they do, as everybody does. You know, there's only going to be one happy team at the end of the day, and certainly you always wish that that was you. But I would love to see him go out on a better note because today wasn't a true indication of the player that he is.
He labored today, but like Tyrel said, I've never coached anybody that's tougher, harder, more competitive, and more of an extension of me than what he is. And so when a guy gives you so much for over four years and it's over in 40 minutes, it's kind of -- obviously, it's a tough reality. But he'll look back on his career as time passes with the greatest memories because he's been the face of our program and certainly he's been -- I'm awfully proud to have had the opportunity to coach him.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
COACH SELF: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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