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Weber, Players Discuss Saturday's Game at Kansas


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS

Jan. 9, 2014

K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Bruce Weber and selected players met with the area media on Thursday to discuss the upcoming game with No. 18/20 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.

The 25th-ranked Wildcats (12-3, 2-0 Big 12) enter Saturday's game on a 10-game winning streak, which is the longest since also winning 10 in a row during the 2009-10 season. The Jayhawks have won five in a row in the series with the Wildcats' last win in Lawrence coming in 2006.

Head Coach Bruce Weber
On the biggest challenge going into the KU game...
"It is different than last year in that they had so much experience. They had pretty talented guys, but the main thing was their experience, their defensive mindset, their toughness and their belief that they were the champions and nobody was beating them. This year, you have a lot of talent, probably three NBA first-round picks at least, on the roster. Last year, they had two guys (Withey and McLemore) in the NBA and I do not know if there was anyone else. So you have a lot of talent, but you do not have quite the experience. We do not have quite the experience either. We had veteran guys that went in there.  It is not always who you are playing, but when you are playing them. Obviously when we went there, we were not playing them at a good time. They had lost three in a row and did not want us to get another on them, so we caught their best shot. They are beatable, but they are very, very talented. We are going to have to play a really good game. It takes discipline and it takes execution. I thought San Diego State did a great job to just keep playing. They are going to block shots, they are going to dunk on you and they are going to make good plays. It is like Oklahoma State, you have to keep playing. You cannot just stand there and freeze because they dunked on you. You have to go make the next play and take it to them and see if you can get to the hoop. It is going to be a tough game, but we will learn a lot about our guys by 3 o’clock Saturday.”

On the challenge of KU’s inside players... 
“They have so much depth. Last year, they had a few guys that could maybe get one substitution or so. This year, you have Tarik Black, who is a veteran starter from Memphis, and some days, he plays five to seven minutes. If they do get into foul trouble, you know he is coming in. They just have so much depth there. Obviously the freshman big kid is so special with his post moves and his mobility.”

On the noise of the crowd...
“We will see. It does matter, it always matters, but you are going to have to play whether it is there, Oklahoma State, Iowa State or Baylor. I hope it motivates them. The biggest thing is that you have to keep your poise, just try to play and just keep coming at them.  Again, that is what San Diego State did, they just kept coming at them and same with Villanova, they just out toughed them. Colorado did the same thing, it was back and forth. They continued to make them play at the end of the game. That is probably usually how you are going to beat good teams anyway.”

On the importance of knocking down the crowd...
“We actually played okay at the beginning. It was more like seven or eight minutes into it and it was just like a landslide that we could not stop. I know of other games that they have struggled early and that is important, but we watched Toledo go in there and they scored between 70 and 80 points somewhere in there. I am sure we are going to get a really good shot. I am sure they are going to be motivated. It is good any time you are on the road not to get in a hole, but we have to do what we do. That was our emphasis today, to not be distracted by the magnitude of the game or what is going on with the crowd. You just have to do what made us successful. We guard, we play hard, we rebound and we take care of the ball. That is a pretty good formula.”

Senior Guard Shane Southwell
On what he needs to improve on in his final season…
“Everything. Just keep fighting, keep getting these younger guys ready for what we are about to step into, not only just for Saturday, but for the whole rest of the year. We have a target now and we had a target going into game one. You saw how Oklahoma State came out, they wanted to beat us because they know that we just had the Big 12 championship. Now they need to understand that they are the defending champions and they just got thrown into it. I just have to keep reminding them that we are the guys that everyone is looking for to win against.“

On getting 21 points against George Washington...
“It felt good. During the game, I do not know when, in the second half maybe around the 10 minute mark, I had 19 points and I was thinking again that it is not going to happen. So just let me keep playing well and get rebounds and assists, because it is not going to happen obviously, I have been on 19 for awhile. But it did happen and I was pretty excited.“

On what comes to mind when thinking about KU...
“Discipline and bigs, they always have really good bigs. Now they have good bigs and good wings. I just think of a good program, they are always one of the better teams in the country and they always play hard. It is going to be a bar fight.”

On how important is it to get a win this week...
“It is crucial. I never won there or even got close to winning there. I want to get a win there. It is going to be hard to look back on my life and say I did not get a win in that arena.”

Junior Forward Thomas Gipson
On guiding the freshman to KU…
“I told them it was going to be loud, but I feel like it is going to be loud anywhere we go. This is probably the toughest crowd that we are going to be in, so I just told them to not worry about the crowd and just play hard and focus on the court. “

On the artificial sound during practice...
“We did not do that last year, because coaches did not even know it was going to be that loud. Today, we handled it pretty well. We were still focused and people were still communicating and trying to talk over the music and system. I feel like we did well. “

On proving people wrong about him going against KU’s forwards...
“I am always going to go up against people who are taller than me. It happens, I am not worried about him, I am just going to go out and play. It is whatever, it does not really matter to me.”