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Big But Small At The Same Time -- The Perspective From The KU Side

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Bill Self and some Kansas players met with the media on Tuesday to talk about the win over Purdue and their upcoming matchup with the Wolfpack. Here is what Elijah Johnson said about State:

"They're pretty big, but small at the same time. They have big guards, but their bigs aren't that big. (They're starting lineup is) 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-8."

I feel your pain there, Elijah. In one journalism assignment at NC State, I wrote that two things (I forget what the hell I was comparing) were "the same and yet different." To top things off, the professor liked to read the biggest gaffes from each assignment out loud to the entire class. Anonymously, but still. And at any rate, your statement works better in context than mine did, that is for sure.

Tyshawn Taylor:

On if North Carolina State is a better matchup for Kansas than Purdue:
"They're playing three guards and two bigs. That's definitely how we want to match up - keeping our bigs in the paint where they should be. That's good, but N.C. State is a good team. They're athletic, and they play in a good league. I'm sure it's going to be a fun game. I'm sure they're going to come out excited to play and excited to be in the Sweet 16 just like everybody else."

(Purdue had them a bit flummoxed by an abnormally small lineup.)

Bill Self:

On if Purdue defended Thomas Robinson as well as anybody has all year:
"I think they played smart. They basically said, `we're going to put two around Thomas (Robinson) and two becomes three because we'll leave Travis (Releford).' They basically just gave us shots. If we were a little bit better screening team, I think we would have done a little bit better job of getting open looks. Sometimes even if you don't guard a guy, but you fake screen and you don't do a good job screening, he can make it feel like he's close enough to make you feel guarded and I thought they did a good job of that.

Purdue's small lineup created a serious contrast in preferences, which actually ended up working out for the better for Matt Painter, because Kansas was as ill-suited to defend the Boilermakers as Purdue was to defend the Jayhawks, and Purdue was able to effectively bracket and frustrate Thomas Robinson by sagging and using its quickness. It will be interesting to see what State's coaches take from the Purdue film and how they choose to address Robinson on Friday night.