Press Conference Wrap-Up

News and notes from Kansas head coach Bill Self's Thursday afternoon meeting with the media, previewing this weekend's regular season finale.

* The biggest motivating factor Saturday is that it's Missouri. It's the rivalry more than anything else. The two teams could play shirts and skins with nobody in the stands, and KU would still be juiced to play. But the chance to win the league outright is also big.

* Elijah used to be like velcro - he'd stick to screens. He's really getting through things better now, and he's focused in on just playing D. When you're focused in on making winning plays and helping your team, you perform better. EJ didn't score last night, but he was terrific defensively in the last 10 minutes of the game.

* He'll be shocked if the two teams score as many points Saturday as they did in the first meeting. It'll be a fast game. A lot of times point totals can be misleading when it comes to evaluating defense. Just because you give up points doesn't mean you're not guarding, and vice versa. More possessions usually produces more points. That said, KU has to do a better job defensively than in the first meeting.

* EJ would have played more but in the second half when he got his bell rung, he laid on the floor long enough for Self to sub. He said he was okay, but it was too late. The backcourt will be by committee - that's how they need to do it. The rotation needs to be nailed down, where guys are comfortable with it. It could be EJ 20, 25 or 10 minutes a game. It just depends on how the other guys are doing.

* He would love to play three point guards as long as one of them is big enough to defend the three. EJ, Tyshawn and Josh aren't in competition with each other so much as they're in competition to be one of the best three guards. The reality is that Brady and Tyrel have been pretty good in the other two spots. It's game to game - if guys aren't making shots and somebody else is, they'll get the minutes.

* EJ is having more fun on defense in practice. He's focusing on it, and that's one of the things that's made him better.

* Nobody wants to share the Big 12 title. In this situation, it's good to be selfish. Nothing against Texas, but they'd rather the title reside only in Lawrence as opposed to Lawrence and Austin.

* KU has only played one road game since the loss at KSU, and that's Oklahoma. They're going to feel some pressure Saturday. They need to have a tight huddle and talk about why they didn't succeed in Manhattan.

* He and Larry Brown went to lunch today, and had dinner together last night. He'll watch practice today, along with Billy Gillispie. They're going to watch with the intent of helping him without question. They can't talk to the players in any way that could be construed as coaching them in basketball, but they are allowed to greet them.

* Thomas isn't as explosive as he was before the knee injury. He's fine though. He just had surgery a couple of weeks ago, and he's doing remarkably well.


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