Opening comments -
"Well, right now the easiest thing to say is we had more bodies for sure. We wanted to try and make it a fast tempo because Mississippi State's numbers are down, but those kids played awfully hard. I grabbed Coach (Ray) after the game and told him my first year at Kansas we lost eight games in a row. Things do turn around for you. His kids played awfully hard, we just had too many players for them. Everyone started feeling good and the ball kept going in the basket. You feel for them but he's doing a nice job with his club. Those are difficult things to overcome, what he's doing right now.
"For us, it started out really easy early. I think that bothered us for a while. Then we had a big spurt right before the half and including P.J.'s 65 footer and we made shots today. Was not pleased with some of our rebounding, and some of the things we did. We turned it over too many times in the first half and made shots. We got everybody involved and had 16 players play. I think the most minutes we had was James Michael played 23 minutes.
"We could get the ball up and down the court and attack the short coming that they had with the number of able bodies. And we shared the basketball. We had 22 assists, would like to have even more than that. It's a much, much easier day for us just because the ball was going into the basket."
Coach, how much confidence have you guys developed?
"I think it's helped us. There is no question. I've said for a long time that we're really a good shooting team. The three guys here on the table can shoot the basketball. Dexter got a lot better. Marcus can shoot the basketball. So we've got a team that can shoot the basketball. We just didn't shoot it the first couple nights out.
"I think when we're consistent getting the basketball inside and getting good balance and inside scoring and guys shooting good three point shots, I think that's when we're our best team. If we can do a little better job of running the floor and getting some easy baskets in open court, think we'll be even better.
Talk about your team's defensive effort today?
"I think we had a good effort. A couple of times we took guys out because they didn't run back, because you've got to do that regardless what the score is. But we tried. They do a really nice job of penetrating, taking the ball to the basket, and they don't try to do it in the first 3 seconds.
"So they make you guard the basketball for a little while, and all of a sudden, bam, there is a screen on the ball and guys penetrating to the basket.
"So I liked our effort. We've got to execute on the defensive end better, but I thought our guys really tried hard.
What's given you confidence in Desmond (Hubert) to keep him in the starting lineup over the past games?
"He really does a nice job defensively in helping defense and blocking some shots and rebounding. He's really struggled with the last couple of games just holding on to the
ball and he had some opportunities. I think he rushed himself. He was too eager being a player. I think tonight had he two different occasions where he took that extra split second and was able to complete the dunk, for example, and I think those things can give him confidence.
"We don't need Desmond to score 27 points a game. We need him to make lay ups, dunks and defend and rebound. I think everybody wants to get a couple points. The last couple of games I think he's fumbled some opportunities and mishandled the ball when he had opportunities. But today got them early, and I think it does give him confidence. Again, he's a good defensive player, so we've got to keep him in there too."
You appeared frustrated for a stretch there midway through the first half. Anything in particular there? I know you mentioned rebounding, but was it just sloppy play?
"It was both. I think today we gave up too many second shot opportunities in the middle of the first half and had turnovers on three of five possessions and just silly passes. Like I said, it started out so easy, and we felt like we made any pass in the world.
James Michael to have four turnovers in the first half, good news he had none in the second half. But we can't throw that basketball around. We're going to face somebody tomorrow, for example, that's going to have the same number of players that we do and be very effective defensively. We can't hurt ourselves. I thought in that stretch in the middle of the first half we hurt ourselves.
The big news back east is Maryland's acceptance to the Big Ten. As an ACC guy dating all the way back, I'm wondering if you have any thoughts about Maryland going to the Big Ten? ,
"I was stunned. I was shocked by it. There is no question. I'm an old ACC guy. Been around a long time, I've been around longer probably than the league has, I don't know. So I was shocked by it. Didn't see it coming whatsoever. I did remember after some meetings that we had at some point that the fine was going to be $50 million. It will be interesting to see what happens on that. If they've got that extra money, maybe they can pass it around to some other people kind of thing. It's strange to me. But what's going on in college athletics is strange to me. Give me a break, the Big East goes all the way to Hawaii, or close anyway, that kind of thing.
"So it's strange what's going on in college athletics, but that's what it is. We've got to understand and live by that. Try to take care and do the best job we can for the league.
"I'm one of those guys that if somebody doesn't think my house is the right place to be, then go ahead and leave. I've got no problem with that. So for me, it was a shock. I hate to see them go, but they felt that's what's best for them, then see ya."