March 15, 2002
Head Coach Mike Montgomery:
"The (assistant) coaches had broken down some Kansas stuff. As far as preparing for them, we'd like to have a little more time. The stuff that they run we know because (former Oregon head coach) Jerry Green used to run that very same stuff at Oregon. As soon as I saw it on paper, I immediately recognized what they do. They are tremendous in the open court, and that is something we have to try to minimize. If we allow them to run 94 feet, we're not going to have much success. The teams that have had a little more success have gotten them into more of a halfcourt game and out of transition. They've done a good job offensively, which means they've taken care of the ball and then made some shots. That is going to be our goal. We're not going to do anything differently. You really have to go back and hope your foundation is solid."
On the possibility of Kirk Hinrich not playing:
"(You're up against the) same thing, not quite as well. I say that ... they have a great system, and the pieces fit in the system, and the players fit in the system. It's a very solid, proven system for many, many years. When I say they're not as good, I only mean, you don't take a player of Hinrich's quality off any basketball team. They're going to have somebody there, and that means somebody else will take the shots that he would take, and that guy's going to be a Boschee, or a Collison, or a Gooden, who are all all-American type players. They don't lose much, but they lose a very good player if he can't play, but we're figuring on him playing."
On the difference between being a No. 1 seed and a No. 8 seed:
"Your expectation when you're a No. 1 seed is much greater. The obvious thing is that the seeding has proven to be faulty, in terms of numbers actually representing team strengths. Five seems to be a bad number, for example, this year. ... The times we've been seeded high has not always been reflective of how good we were. Sometimes we were better. Last year, there was pressure because we were good, and we wanted to make the Final Four, and we came very close. Yeah, there's more pressure (being a No. 1 seed) because of your expectations. You know you can go on, and you know you're good enough. For us, two years ago we lost to an 8 (seed). It was a good 8, North Carolina was misplaced, but nonetheless, we know it can happen. There is some pressure because regardless of what you do, it's a failure if you don't make it all the way to the Final Four."
On Casey Jacobsen:
"He likes to score, and he's good at it. I always made the point that great players made other players better. He has done a real nice job this year finding the open guy. He leads us in assists. He can rebound the ball better, and he's worked hard on defense. He takes pride in his defending the other team's best player. He still likes to score. It's still in the process. He's worked hard at being a well-rounded player. It's really helped him, and I know it's really helped us."
On the possibility of Kansas playing without Hinrich:
"If we lost a key player, we would try to fill the void of that loss with intensity. They are a No. 1 seed for several reasons, and Kirk is only part of the puzzle." Expectations for the game: "I am very excited to be in that position (No. 8 seed against a No. 1 seed) to give Kansas problems."
On playing an entire season without injury:
"My whole goal this season was to get back and be healthy, to make it through a whole season." On playing against Kansas' big men: "It's going to be a tough matchup, but we will have to make them work for everything they get."
On Kansas' style of play:
"Tempo will be crucial. They play a lot in transtion and put a lot of points on the board."
On his senior leadership:
"This is my fourth tournament, and I have the most game experience in the locker room. The tournament is different than all other games in the season."