NCAA Tournament Selection Press Conference Quotes

Quotes from Coach Self and selected players following the announcement of the 2004 NCAA Tournament bracket.

Quotes from Coach Self

On playing in Kansas City:
“I am a little surprised (about playing in Kansas City).  I was breaking it down a little bit this morning.  Looking at the RPI and looking at the rankings -- we were right at the 15th, 16th or 17th team.  I wasn’t shocked we got a four-seed but it worked out nice we were able to stay at home.  It is more about matchups then where we play.  I am sure our fans are happy.”
“I don’t know about the fan following.  I hope it is true because I understood the place was already close to selling out.  I would think this will help.  Do you want to play it safe or do you want there to be a risk with a possible reward as well.  When you have better players there is always more pressure because people expect it.  The best players will give you the best chance.  I am not saying we have the best players -- I am just using that as an example.  I am not sure this will be a homecourt advantage for us but there is always pressure when people expect you to do things.  With the supposed homecourt there will be pressure to perform better.  I do think it makes you play better.  If it is worth a couple of point then we can use every point this time of year.”
On any distractions the team may face:
“I don’t anticipate any (distractions).  If we allow them to be then there will be.  This time of year, the last thing you want to deal with is distractions.  When your team is away from everybody it is hard to be distracted.  We will go over tickets tomorrow and that will be the last time we talk about that.  We will go over cell phone rules and how we handle hotels.  All you want at this time of year is your team to give themselves the best chance.  Distractions can keep them from that.”
Jeff Graves, Wayne Simien and Jeff Hawkins will have more friends this week then they have had in a long time. Now everybody thinks they have a right to call for tickets. They just have to know how to say no and not put emphasis on keeping everyone else happy.”
On getting an adrenaline boost from playing in Kansas City:
“I have been in the room when you are 29-4 and named a seven-seed.  I have been in the room when you are projected at a two-seed and then you are a four-seed.  Sometimes that can deflate you a little bit.  I think we expected to be a five or something like that.  We are four, and if anything, that might give us an adrenaline rush.  I never used the Kansas City-carrot much, maybe a little bit.  I felt like if we would have beat Texas then we would have guaranteed Kansas City.  I think we played our way into a four-seed because we were on the outside looking in a couple of weeks ago.”
On KU’s preparation at this point of the season:
“We will keep doing what we have been doing.  We will do a ton of shooting.  We have to get bodies healthy.  I think playing Friday was a bonus for us.  We will spend Monday and Tuesday working on Kansas.  On Wednesday and Thursday we will get into Illinois-Chicago and work on things they do and how to combat those things.  Practice will be cut down and will not be long.  I know our players think that is not always the case.  We will cut our practice time down.  The most important thing is to have your health and legs.  That is what we intend to do.”
On travelling a short distance to Kansas City:
“The last three tournaments we have been in we haven’t travelled.  We went to Chicago (while at Illinois), Indianapolis (while at Illinois) and then Kansas City (this year).  It has been two hours, one hour and forty-five and forty-five minutes so far.  It may be new for these players but is pretty common for us.  That is what we are used to.”
On the Big 12 getting four teams in the NCAA Tournament:
“I was not surprised, just disappointed.  The Big 12 is a plenty good enough league to deserve at least five.  I know Ricardo (Patton, Colorado head coach) is very certainly disappointed.  I think he has every right to be.  If you finish 10-6 in the fourth-best league -- that should get you in.  There are a lot of teams out there that did not finish that high in their respective leagues and still got in.  I don’t know the criteria for all of that stuff.  From the seeds, it really looked like the committee did a good job at looking at strength of schedule.  Today we played the seventh-toughest schedule in America.  I am sure that had a lot to do with us being a four-seed.  I am disappointed for Colorado.”
On which bracket is the toughest:
“I would say our bracket (is the toughest).  When you look at the 13th-seed and Illinois-Chicago has won 12 in-a-row and won their league.  They will be as tough a 13-seed as there possibly is, they could be a better seed than that.  Look at Providence -- look at some of the wins they have had  this year.  Pacific is on a role.  Kentucky is the number one-seed in the tournament.  I think you could make a strong case ours is the toughest.  I don’t know because I haven’t studied it.”
On what Kansas can do better:
“We are going to have to play better than we have played.  To be honest, I like how we have played lately and I think our players do to.  You want to be going this direction (pointing up) this time of year -- hopefully that is what we are doing.  We do need to play better and we can always play better.”
“I think this time of year you want to make shots and you want to take care of the basketball.  The thing you have to do is make other teams play poorly.  That is something we can certainly do a better job of from the defensive end and the rebounding end.  You have to be able to steal possessions.  Even if it is just three or four possessions in one game -- that may translate into four points and four points may mean the difference in winning and losing.”
On preparing for first and second round games:
“We’ll have one coach scout UIC, one coach scout Pacific, and another one scout Providence. That will be their focus, but that will not be the team’s focus.”
On being a player in the NCAA tournament:
“My memories aren’t very good of the tournament. I only played in the tournament one year. We (Oklahoma State) played Princeton in the first round. We faced Pete Carril that particular year and got beat at the buzzer.”
On Illinois and North Carolina’s position in the bracket:
“I’ve always thought that you have to worry about yourself. I don’t know if the committee did us any favors. I was surprised that Illinois was not a better seed than a five. I really felt if we were a four or a five and Carolina was a six that we would stay away from them. I didn’t wish for that to happen, but I am certainly not complaining that it did. I think that would add to the distractions if any one of those scenarios played out.”
On KU’s health and playing back-to-back games:
“Our guys are tough and I don’t want to make excuses for them. Some teams can handle playing back-to-back games better than other teams -- because of health situations. We didn’t respond great in Reno when that happened. I thought we responded pretty well against Texas. I thought the Texas game was a game that came down to us missing free throws and them controlling the glass in the first half. That was a game that was easily winnable if we had just taken care of business and paid better attention to detail. It doesn’t disappoint me that we didn’t play today. We would have obviously looked forward to playing today, but that would have been a difficult task.” 
On the NCAA’s pod system:
“At Illinois we played in Chicago and I liked it then. I’ll reserve judgement until after the game. I don’t think the pod system should reward a team that doesn’t deserve to be there just so that they can play closer to home. As long as they have them (teams) seeded correctly -- I’m fine with the pod system. I don’t think you should maneuver seeds just so people could play closer to home.” Top Stories