Kansas coach Bill Self knows being a one seed in the NCAA Tournament can’t hurt. He also knows that after awhile, it’s all just a number next to your name.
Heading into today’s first tournament game with Austin Peay, Self knows his team may be the team to beat. However, that aura can be shattered in an instant. Either way, the emphasis is on being loose and not changing who they’ve been the past two months.
“After you get seeded and placed on your line, it's about preparing for matchups and the team that's in front of you,” Self said Wednesday. “Our guys have been really, really loose for the last six or eight weeks. They've really played at a -- I don't want to say at a high level, but at a level in which they were playing with freedom or they at least felt that. And I can't see that changing. We're not going to put any emphasis on it by talking about it, but I want our guys to be the way they have been.”
First, Kansas must get through the first round. Then. They can turn their attention to getting into the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years. They begin this run knowing they must take care of business to avoid being the first top seeded team to fall to a 16th seed.
“Every game we play has pressure and we just want to focus on one game at a time,” guard Frank Mason said. “Definitely coming into this tournament, we feel like every game is pressure and we just want to go out and do the things we did to get us here at this point. We obviously don't want to be that team to make history and lose to a 16 seed. So we just have to focus in on the game plan and give ourselves the best chance to win.”