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March 9, 2012

Rick Barnes

J'Covan Brown

Myck Kabongo


Missouri – 81
Texas – 67

THE MODERATOR:  We're ready to begin with the Texas Longhorns, Coach Rick Barnes and his two student‑athletes Myck Kabongo and J'Covan Brown.
COACH BARNES:  I thought the game started and obviously we needed to really grind on them and put the ball inside and make them play defense.  And I thought early in the game we really were moving the ball, then it starts sticking a little bit, other than the fact we turned the ball over some, just where we needed to be a little bit tougher with the ball, they knocked the ball out of our hands.
When Pressey, Phil's making those 3s, he's as tough any guy to guard because we‑‑ couple different ways in the first half we were trying to go under it a little bit.  And actually wanted him to shoot some of them.  Then I think people would see why it's hard to double team him, because he did such a terrific job seeing the floor.
I think Missouri does as good a job as any team I've seen in a long time in terms of sharing the ball, moving the ball.  When they get you to spread out, they not only make the first extra pass, but they'll make the next one, the next one, and the next one.
But our team's grown up a lot.  And a team like Missouri gives you very, very small margin of error guarding them.  But when they're shooting the ball or he's shooting the ball, it really makes it extremely tough on your defense.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  J'Covan, what happened to your head there?
J'COVAN BROWN:  I banged it in the camera, hit my head, and just my neck got stiff on me.  So just battling that right now.  But I'll be all right.

Q.  Myck, what do you feel like you guys got out of these two games here as far as moving on?
MYCK KABONGO:  We're improving.  Improved every step of the way.  I think we're taking strides the right way.  We didn't back down at the end of the game even though it slipped away from us.  Everyone kept fighting, had something good to work for.
And we're going to go back and work hard and get ready for whatever's next for us.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Questions for Coach.

Q.  Are missed shots almost like turnovers against those guys, the way they kind of just take it and go?
COACH BARNES:  Yes.  That was a big thing that we talked about earlier, we did not want to take quick early shots.
We did that two or three times in the first half, and they converted all three of them back, either layups, they're excellent in the open floor, and obviously they're an offense‑minded basketball team.  So you want to make them defend so you don't get layups.  And really I think against those guys you've got to run, and there's no question you gotta go after them inside.
I mean, we got 20 offensive rebounds.  When you get 20 offensive rebounds, we should shoot better than 42percent from the floor.  So we were‑‑ and when we drove it hard, good things happened.  Then we got down, thought we started reaching too much on defense.
They went five trips where they got to the foul line.  And the crew, I'm sure, there were five fouls.  I don't have any problem with that because I could see we were reaching not doing what we needed to do.
A team like Missouri, they don't need help.  They really don't.  You've got to be solid against them.  And we got away from it, when we actually got the movement we wanted to go at them inside.  The ball starts sticking, where we just stop moving the ball and got careless.  I go back to the first half they just knocked the ball out of our hands.  That's where we've got to be tougher with the ball.
But if you do miss, believe me, it's in an early situation they capitalize against any team you play against.

Q.  A lot of Missouri fans have been saying that the Tigers were playing with a special purpose this tournament, since they're about to go to the SEC and there's been some things said from some other schools about blaming them for all the problems in the conference.  Did you notice that they seemed to have any special fire or any special motivation?
COACH BARNES:  I don't think that's the reason.  I think people on the outside come up with all kind of reasons to do whatever.  I think that a year ago, you really dig deep inside, it was a group of guys.
And this is just me from an outside coach perspective.  And I mean this sincerely.  I've never talked to Frank Haith about it, the chemistry wasn't the same.  I'm not taking a shot at anybody about any of that.
I think these guys have gotten older.  Look at their team.  They're an older group of guys.  They don't have many guys to play from the very beginning.  When you watched them from the time they started, you knew there was something about them.
And you can't‑‑ and, again, I think it's the players.  I don't know‑‑ I think it always comes from within the players.  But I don't think that those guys could care less what league they're in, when they start playing basketball.  I really don't.  I think they've got themselves into a position where they want to win.  I think they know they're capable of beating anybody.  I don't think that's their motivation.
I think they want to have a chance to play, they're playing for a championship tomorrow, and they're going to have a chance because of the kind of year they've had to have a great seed, play for another one.
But, again, I don't think that's the reason they have done what they've done this year.

Q.  Rick, at this point in the season, where would you say this team is as far as what your expectations were and where you're at right now?
COACH BARNES:  You know, I'm proud of our team.  I really am.  I think where we were, and I've talked about it.  This team has continued to improve.  And I actually talked to them at the end of the game tonight in the locker room.  I said:  Okay, we've played 33 games.  What do we know about ourselves?
And it's obvious we know we played hard.  And that was the one thing I said at the beginning of the year, would this mean new players, there was a couple of things we're going to have to do in terms of trying to do them well.  And one of them was establishing a work ethic.  And the attitude that we're going to go out and compete every single night.  And for the most part I think that we did that.
And I think that when we didn't play as well is‑‑ tonight a little bit we got away from our game plan.  And it's such a fine line.  And last night we were much better with it.  But as you watched the tape from last night, we were in some pretty good position‑wise, but I'm sure if you're Iowa State, they look at why were we careless with the ball.  I thought last night we took care of the ball.  Tonight at the start of the game we were careless with the ball.  We knew it was going to be different a little bit.
That's the things you don't understand.  But we know we've improved.  We know that we're going to fight.  And I am proud of this team.  I really am, because they had no clue what they were getting into when they came to Texas a year ago, and some of them not even that much.
And you look at a team that our losses‑‑ I'm looking here.  We've got 13 losses, three to Missouri, two Kansas, two of them to Baylor.  So that's, what, three‑‑ what is that?  Help me out.  Seven losses.  Seven of the 13 losses are to teams that are mentioned as 1, 2, 3 seeds.  But we've improved.  We've gotten better.
I still think on any given night if we do what we're capable of doing, we can beat anybody.  I really truly believe that.

Q.  Your games with Missouri and Baylor, they were so close.  Do you think if you would have won one of those games the team might have reacted differently and played with more confidence the rest of the year?
COACH BARNES:  You know, that's a good question.  It's a good question.  It's actually a great question.  I don't know.  I don't know.  Because the way we reacted, you know, what I know that we were‑‑ our guys were devastated.  That's the word I would use after the Missouri game at home.  I think they were devastated after the Kansas game.  And I think they were devastated after the Baylor game.
But what they did each time, they shook it off and they came back and they've tried to get better.  And who knows.  You know, sometimes with young guys, there's also‑‑ they might get a false sense of whatever.
So I don't know, but it's a great question.  I would have liked to have seen that and found out.  But the fact is‑‑ I don't think our team lacks confidence.  I think a lot of it is experience.  I do.  I think that's a lot of it.  And understanding just how a fine a line it is.
You go back and look tonight, you go take away those transition‑‑ and forget the fact that they made 3s.  I mean, in the first half it was really the transition baskets that put us in a hole.  And it's because of lack of execution on the offensive end.  It wasn't‑‑ I mean the 3s are going to do that.  But it's those plays that kill us.  Killed us.  And they're good.  I mean, those guys are good.
And, I mean, I love watching them play because of the way they share the ball.  I really do.

Q.  When you see the moments of lack of execution, is there a common denominator?  Mental breakdowns?  Is it just‑‑
COACH BARNES:  Yeah, guys hold the ball.  They stop the ball from moving.  You've got to move the ball.
Again, you can learn a lot about just watching them as you prepare for other teams.  I kept talking to our team today and last night about not only did they make the extra pass, they'll make one more and one more.  They really move the ball and they really stick the ball.  The ball doesn't stick.  They really move it.  We bog down because we break out of it too easy in terms of just understanding simple ball movement, and we started standing.
And we need to be a team that moves the ball‑‑ because I do think when we drive it hard, tonight, every time we drove it, something‑‑ hard.  Not soft.  Because when we drove it hard, we went in, got a lot of offensive rebounds.  And, I mean, it's pretty simple.  They don't want you to drive it at them.  They don't want you to throw it inside.
But the fact you got 20 offensive rebounds, we should have gotten more out of that than we did.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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