On Tuesday afternoon, Bill Self, Naadir Tharpe and Landen Lucas met with the media to discuss Wednesday's rematch against No. 16/18 Iowa State.
Head coach Bill Self
On playing ISU the second time around:
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"We're excited. When we play Iowa State, it's usually a fun one - for fans. It's kind of stressful for us coaches probably, but we played pretty well up there the first time. We were fortunate that they missed shots. We know that we need to guard them better, even though they missed shots the first time, a lot of that was we just we got lucky."
On the cause of all the turnovers in their first meeting with ISU:
"I think a lot of it was self-inflicted. We had 24 and they had eight. We probably had eight that were totally unforced. We have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, obviously, but playing on the road at a hostile environment, I would expect us to have about 15 or 16 unless we just played an error-free game. But that was excessive up there. We have to do a better job of not wasting possessions. They played good defense on us, but a lot of that was brought on ourselves."
On how much the team has grown:
"We have grown, but we're just now to the middle of the season. That's what's so strange. We've played what, 19 games? And I'd like to play 38 or 40. We've really done a pretty good job, since the New Mexico game at Sprint Center, of playing with a little bit more energy and a little bit more confidence. We lost a game in that stretch to San Diego State, but they're good. They're ranked fourth or fifth in the country right now, and we certainly had opportunities to win that game. The big thing is that we're playing with more energy and we're starting to understand how we're going to score - not just running an offense to run an offense. We're not a tough team by any stretch, but are playing tougher than we did earlier in the season."
On Tarik Black's status:
"He's made progress, but it's still not great. He practiced with us yesterday and went through everything, but he was still only about 50-60 percent. We're hoping that he's available to us Wednesday, but as of right now - he's still questionable for the game."
On the luxury of having so much depth with big men, specifically Landen Lucas:
"Oh yeah, I've said all along that he's the best fifth big guy on any team in America. Nobody has a fifth guy like Landen. He's trying real hard to not be the fifth guy, and he's performed well when he's had the opportunity. Of course, Tarik has been great when he's been in there over the last month or so. We definitely need all of our guys healthy and ready to go, but it is comforting to know that we can put guys like Landen out there and feel like your team won't skip a beat."
On feeling if Ben McLemore's shot was going in last year:
"I knew it had a chance because it was plenty hard enough. I knew there was no way it was going to be short - since he banked it in. We were so lucky last year and we were lucky in Ames also, and then we played really well against them in the Big 12 Tournament. Our guys are totally aware of how dangerous a team that can score as easily as Iowa State is. We just need to guard them and do a good job on the glass. I'm sure Fred (Hoiberg) is telling his guys the same thing about us. We scored quite a few points in our games, as well. I hope it's not a 100-95 game like it was last year in our building, but certainly when they make shots, you've got to be able to put up points."
Kansas big man Landen Lucas
"I think I have improved a lot. Any kind of in-game experience and help you improve a lot. I think I have improved throughout this season."
ON BEN MCLEMORE'S GAME-TYING THREE-POINTER VERSUS IOWA STATE IN AFH LAST YEAR:
"Toward the end of the game, I didn't know if we were going to come back and win. When he hit that shot, I knew we were going to win. There was too much momentum. That was a big-time shot, definitely one to remember."
ON IS IOWA STATE BECOMING A RIVAL:
"I think so. Whenever you have a talented team that gives you a good game every time it slowly becomes a rival. It's exciting. We always look for something like that and Iowa State is definitely becoming like that."
ON KANSAS' DEPTH INSIDE:
"We have a lot of bigs in general. I don't think as many teams in the country have as many as we do. It's hard but it's a good thing because we push each other in practice and in case there is an injury there is not a big drop."
ON PROGRESSING LIKE BIGS IN THE PAST:
"He (Coach Self) always talks about Jeff (Withey) and other guys like Thomas (Robinson). Everybody has gone through that before. You have to stay patient and ready until it is your turn. When it is, perform at a high level."
Kansas point guard Naadir Tharpe
ON HOW HE ADJUSTED WHEN HE DID NOT START:
"I definitely had to feel like I had to pick up. I felt like what I was doing wasn't good enough. I didn't take it as I had to be more competitive with Frank (Mason). I took it on myself knowing I had to do more to help the team."
ON WHEN HE TURNED IT UP:
"Early when things were going wrong, I was sitting back, not talking as much. Other guys didn't really know what to say or what to do. They were looking for someone who was going to talk to them. I knew after the Florida game things had to change. Somebody has to be a leader. Somebody has to take a stand and take opportunities. I knew after the Florida game I would have to do more."
ON THE MINDSET:
"It's more about before games, repetition and going into practice and taking that onto the court. Coach gets us prepared for each game. If we stay focused in practice and put that on to the court, then that will benefit us."
"It's all about confidence and being comfortable and knowing what's going on out there on the floor. The first few years I felt like I was all over the place. Even last year, I played a bunch more but I felt I wasn't comfortable like I was supposed to be. Coach told me, 'a lot of those shots you missed last year, you will make them this year. You're going to be ready. You're going to be comfortable and know what to expect.' And this year I feel from watching Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, I know what is expected and I know what's going to happen the majority of the time."