Dana Altman talks about KU match-up

Slant Staff, Staff
Jayhawk Slant

USA Today

Dana Altman met with the media before their game against Kansas.

Here are some of the highlights from the interview.

Dana Altman

Opening statement from Altman:

We are recovering from a tough ball game last night that went down to the wire. Just finished our practice. Had an opportunity to watch Kansas and Purdue last night, a very explosive offensive effort by Kansas, especially in the second half. Very talented team. Bill does a great job. The atmosphere was a little bit "pro KU" last night, and I imagine it will be the same tomorrow. We know it will be a tough ball game, but our guys are excited about the opportunity.

Bill just said that you guys know each other, you've coached against each other, how well do you know Bill? He also said that he thinks that the Ducks mirror Kansas in the way that they play. Do you agree with that as well?

First of all, I've known Bill for a very long time. Probably '86, so that ages both of us. He's a little younger than I am, but we do go back a long ways and our teams have played Oral Roberts, Tulsa, when I was at Creighton. Played him at Illinois. So we have had an opportunity to play a few times.

As far as our teams resembling each other, I think we both are playing small. Without Chris we haven't had quite the opportunity to play big a number of times with Jordan and Chris in the lineup together. So that has kind of cut our ability to play different ways, but the fact that both of us at the forward spots have basically guys with guard skills, Josh for them and Dillon Brooks for us. So, yeah, I think there are some similarities. We both get up and down. We both have veteran teams with Mason being a starter for a long time. We've got guys in Jordan Bell, Dillon and Casey and Dylan Ennis has been around for a long time, so we both have experienced players.

You've had success against Kansas when you were at Kansas State. You upset, they were ranked No. 1. Talk to us about your time at Kansas State?

Seven years, three with Coach Kruger and four as a head coach. The games against Kansas were always tough. Coach Brown was there and then Roy took over for him. It was always a tough atmosphere to go over there and played them in old Kemper a number of times in the tournament.

Kansas tradition has been there for a long, long time. They've been good for a long time under a number of coaches. Always a tough game.We're preparing for one tomorrow. We know the atmosphere is going to favor them, and it's a big challenge for us, but our guys having on the road and won ball games before. They've won in tough venues, broke Arizona's 49-game winning streak last year on the road. We'll compete and we will be ready to go.

With quick turnaround times and not necessarily having your full scout team, when you do a run-through tomorrow morning how closely will the scout team try to simulate what Kansas does and will you personally be in the run-through? I heard you might be one of the Kansas players.

Our run-throughs are never too full speed because I am out there. You can imagine they're pretty low key. We didn't take as many walk-ons this year as we usually do so our scout team is usually a couple of coaches and a couple of the players. We run through things half speed, three-quarter speed. We don't get at full speed. We've done that all year. Done it in years past. It doesn't change our approach much.

Kansas, Bill's team, they're pretty basic in what they do. They've got really good players and they spread the floor and they've got all those 3-point shooters. There are not a lot of set plays they're running. They spread that floor and let Frank handle it and make plays and if he's not handling it, Devonte' Graham is handling it, and they're setting ball screens up top. It's just very efficient.

Their offense, I don't know where KenPom has got them rated, but they're efficient. With all of them being able to pass it, it's one of the best passing teams we've faced in a long time. They pass and catch the ball really well, and when all of them can shoot it they can spread the floor pretty good.

Can you tell us which KU player we will be in practice?

I will be Frank. I'm always the best player. No, I'm always the point guard, so I just threw that in there. I'm usually the point guard because we got a good feel for what they're going to do and it cuts down the time.

Growing up in this part of the country and having coached in the same conference, what did Kansas basketball represent to you? Was it a gold standard of what every program wants to be?

If you spend seven years at Kansas State you don't like the Jayhawks, all right? Chickenhawks, all right? You can't spend seven years 90 miles away and the one chance we had to go to the Final Four in '88 they beat us after we had beat them in the conference tournament. We beat them 2 out of 3 and we had to play 'em a fourth game and they beat us to go to the Final Four. It's great tradition. We're in the league now and you've got UCLA and Arizona with great tradition.

Kansas State has great tradition, but Kansas obviously has done awfully, awfully well. Type of tradition we would like to build at Oregon. We've got a long ways to go to even be mentioned with those types of programs, but I think eventually someday our program can have that stability and that consistency that some of the traditional programs have and KU definitely has that.

What to Read Next