Self Hoping MSU Game Jump Starts Team

"It's going to be (our) 15 against however many they have. We are going to go up there as a brotherhood. We will have to play tough and be firing on all cylinders to get a victory."--Kansas Guard Mario Little

DETROIT - Kansas coach Bill Self met with the media today in his weekly press conference and talked about the Jayhawks big game against the Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon in the Breslin Center.

Self is hoping that by playing a tough game on the road, he will toughen up his young team that could line up three freshman starters.

Kansas (11-3) is led by sophomore center Cole Aldrich who's averaging 15 points per game and nearly ten rebounds. Self likes what he has in the wiry big man.

"Very rarely do you find a guy with a physical physique that thin. He's a thin guy. You look at him and you don't know he's as athletic as he is. Maybe that is a little bit different. I think the way he is playing right now is how any coach would want their big guys to play. He's being aggressive. I don't want to get carried away, the Tennessee game was great, he had seven dunks, but the reason he got those dunks was because other people gave him uncontested shots," he said.

"I thought personally he played better against Siena because he scored real points where he had to go through people. The important thing Saturday is that he is a presence and is able to at least draw fouls and get to the free throw line."

Aldrich said he understands what he's going to face in the Spartans front line led by Big Ten Player of the Week Raymar Morgan who is averaging 15.3 points per game.

"They're good," he said. "They are really going to pressure the ball on defense. They're going to get out and run. They're going to rebound. It's going to be a really tough game out there."

He also spoke about the atmosphere surrounding the game which will be televised nationally on CBS at 1:00pm EST.

"We have some confidence right now. We played a really tough Tennessee team and a really tough Siena team. I think we played those guys pretty well. I think it's going to be a really tough team at Michigan State. The Izzo fans are going to be pretty crazy, but we're excited to get out there and play."

Junior guard Sherron Collins talked about what Kansas believes are Michigan State's strengths.

"They can get out and run; they can get out and push the ball. They are the best team in the nation in transition. We have to do a good job of paying attention to the guards. We have to do a good job of trying to get back (in transition)."

Self said he think MSU is a bonafide tournament team.

"They're as good as what their preseason ranking was. They're a lot like us. They're playing really well now. They're a team that can obviously make a run at it and go to the Final Four," said the KU coach.

"I like their team, I think they're great at the guard spot. They have probably as versatile of two big guards or wings that you could have in Summers and Morgan, and then they have some guys that can anchor the side. They create some problems, and they are fast."

He went on to discuss the physical reputation the Spartans bring to the game.

"They have [that] reputation over the years, for very good reason, of being a team that's very physical based on the rebounding numbers and all these things. They've been dominant over time. We need to play more physical. We're getting ready to play Michigan State and then we play Kansas State and they are a very physical team. Hopefully this game will prepare us for league play."

Junior guard Mario Little summed up the Jayhawks mindset coming into the game.

"It's going to be (our) 15 against however many they have. We are going to go up there as a brotherhood. We will have to play tough and be firing on all cylinders to get a victory."

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