Record: 13-17, 4-14 Big 12
Streak: Lost 5
Last Week: lost to Kansas State (H), 76-70 (Tue.); lost to Oklahoma (A), 65-62 (Sat.)
This Week: vs Oklahoma, Big 12 Championship first round, Wednesday, 6 p.m. (Big 12 Network)HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
"It's a new season with some of the same issues, but hopefully we can improve in some of those areas. The guys were good in practice yesterday. They know we're capable of beating Oklahoma, since we've beaten them before and we had an opportunity to beat them recently, but we've got to do a better job defending in the post and competing a little bit harder on the defensive end around the basket."
You ever have a season where on the court there are so many bad breaks?
"Yeah, I've had some of those seasons. It's usually the first or second year of rebuilding a program. I didn't anticipate that happening when I first got here. I just did a press conference with the Big 12 and they asked me when did I see it coming, and I said probably the third week of me being here (I saw that) there were some issues that needed to be addressed and would take time to address."
Is it an advantage to play the same team to open the tournament right after playing them to close the regular season?
"You know, I don't know if it's an advantage. I'll tell you after the game. Preparation-wise it's definitely an advantage, but it's an advantage for both teams. The great thing is we had a chance to win up there after not playing very well-we didn't think we played very good basketball. In the first half we had 9 turnovers and in the second half we got down 14. You can't put yourself in those situations, yet we still had a chance to win. We were down one with the ball and got a steal, and unfortunately we didn't get the right call to get the ball back and have another opportunity to take the lead. I think if we could have taken the lead, Oklahoma has struggled like us winning games at the end."
Outside of the game at Oklahoma State, have you seen enough signs over the past few weeks that with you guys getting healthier maybe you can go up to Kansas City and surprise some people?
"Yeah. We haven't had some of our guys have their best games. Khris and Elston have not had great games in the same game. David hasn't not been in foul trouble. All three of those guys haven't been on the floor as much and excelled together like they are capable of. I definitely think it's a possibility for us to max out and maybe win one or two games that we're not supposed to, but it starts with the Oklahoma game. I think we have it in us, but for whatever reason we haven't been able to put it all together."
Have you allowed yourself to go back and say "what if" through all the stuff that has gone on this season?
"Not really. I haven't really thought about that to be honest with you. We've had enough going on where we're just trying to get better every day and focus on today and what's ahead of us-recruiting, all those things. And I don't know how much difference it would have made. I would like to think it would have made a big difference and we'd have won more games, but you never know."
How do you prepare a team for a conference tournament where you hope you're playing four games?
"Everything is about the first game. If you don't win the first game of the tournament you feel like you've never been there. All the tournaments I've been at, we put all the emphasis on the first game, and from there you build off the momentum of winning the first game. We've got one coach who will break down Kansas and be prepared to get into Kansas right away. I'm familiar with Kansas also, but I'm more familiar with Oklahoma right now, and that's where all our focus is."