"The game obviously was not a well-played game by Kansas at all," the KU coach said. "I thought Baylor controlled the game from the get-go. They were certainly better than us from the start. We got exactly what we deserved."
"Today is a reality check," Bill Self added. "First thing we are doing,
we go back when we get to the hotel and go to school tomorrow and make
all the players walk around class tomorrow with all the other students
wondering why are you back here already? And then we will practice as
hard as we have ever practiced in the next two days and get them
thinking about that as opposed to worrying about what just happened."
Three days later on Selection Sunday, a rejuvenated Self walked into
the interview room in Allen Fieldhouse at 5:55 p.m. He was relaxed and
cracked jokes before taking questions on KU's No. 3 seed in the Midwest
Regional, where the Jayhawks open NCAA play on Friday against the No.
14-seeded North Dakota State Bison, who won both the Summit League
regular-season title and conference tournament championship.
"I thought we got where we deserved to be," Self said. "I think for our
hopes to be a No. 2 seed, we were going to have to perform a little bit
better than we did in Oklahoma City. I think it's a very difficult
bracket, but I'm sure that everybody, whatever seed they are in their
respective regions, feels the exact same way."
If KU beats North Dakota State (26-6, 16-2 in Summit League), the
Jayhawks will play the winner of No. 6 West Virginia and No. 11 Dayton
on Sunday. Looking ahead at a possible Sweet 16, KU could potentially
play No. 2 Michigan State in a rematch of the KU-MSU meeting in East
Lansing on January 10, which the Spartans won, 75-62.
Other teams in the Midwest Regional include No. 1 Louisville, No. 4
Wake Forest, No. 5 Utah, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 9 Siena (KU beat the
Saints, 91-84, at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 6) and No. 12 Arizona, which
whipped Kansas at Tucson, 84-67, on Dec. 23.
While Self and the Jayhawks would have enjoyed playing in Kansas City
for the opening rounds, the head coach said Minneapolis is just "fine."
And Self said the Friday-Sunday games could bring more KU fans to
"Hopefully since the game is on Friday," Self said, "I think that will
be better for KU fans to travel because they would just miss one day of
Self didn't have a problem with Oklahoma (27-5) receiving a No. 2 seed
in Kansas City, even though KU beat the Sooners in Norman, was the
outright Big 12 champions, and OU lost four of its last six games.
Self believes the committee was more impressed with OU's overall season
"I think if you look at the entire year and don't break it down to
non-conference and conference," Self said, "I think that you could say
OU had a better year."
Self reported that KU's had some high-energy practices following the
"The guys have responded pretty well," Self said.
He and his coaching staff are now looking forward to some more spirited
practices and also scouting North Dakota State.
"We will have plenty of tape," Self said. "Every game that they've
played on TV in the last month and a half, we have. We will be able to
break some film down tonight."
Like Self, junior point guard Sherron Collins and sophomore center Cole Aldrich were relaxed and in good moods during the interview session.
Collins sported a white T-shirt, while Aldrich wore a light blue polo
shirt and shorts.
Aldrich, a Bloomington, Minn., native, was looking forward to playing
back home. He and Collins joked with each other whether Minnesota was
more of a hockey or basketball state and how Collins would look in
But joking aside, the two stars know the real deal begins on Friday.
"Cole and I try to talk to (our teammates) as much as we can and let
them know that we don't have any time to get this next game back like
we did in the conference tournament," Collins said.
"I think we will be ready to play. I am so anxious to play that I wish
it started tomorrow."
And Away We Go!
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