With apologies to that small segment of Kansas University football fans who loathe the word "basketball," comment is needed on Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrisey's recent paragraph: "People say (Illinois coach Bruce) Weber's success has come with Bill Self's players. Those people need to be re-reminded Self can recruit but can't coach his way out of a recreation center all-comers league."
Oh, really? Self coached his way out of Oral Roberts University with a winning record in four seasons. ORU went 5-22 the year before he took his first head coaching job.
Self coached his way out of Tulsa, where he registered a 74-27 record in three seasons and took his team to the Elite Eight. The very next season after that Elite Eight appearance, coaching Lon Kruger's players, Self took Illinois to the Elite Eight. In his first season at Kansas, coaching Roy Williams' recruits, Self coached the Jayhawks to the Elite Eight.
That's three Elite Eight appearances at three different schools in a span of five years. That's not a testament to his recruiting, rather to his coaching.
Last season, Self coached his team out of a 3-4 start and into a 16-2 finish that included a Big 12 tournament title with an 80-68 victory over a more experienced Texas team.
That sort of improvement doesn't take place over the course of one season without strong teaching, which is another word for coaching.
Kansas 37, Iowa State 31: The legend of Todd Reesing grows and Jon Cornish runs for 150 yards and the offensive line gets some credit for another strong effort.
"I'm so proud of Jon," tight end Derek Fine said of Cornish reaching his milestone. "I'm so proud of the offensive line and I'm really really happy for Jon to reach that 1000-yard mark. I kind of feel like the way Jon's gotten me knocking guys down TE is starting to stand for tackle extended, as much blocking as I do. That's definitely a goal I felt I had in common with the offensive line. All you have to do is make creases for Jon and Jon's going to run a long ways."
Nebraska 31, Missouri 21: To the delight of former KU coach Don Fambrough, Mizzou falls out of first place.
Fambrough, by the way, said he accidentally was knocked over at practice Wednesday for the first time in his career. He said it knocked out his two front teeth, which sent him to the dentist. The work was done in time for him to make an appearance the Bert Nash Center benefit that honored KU track legends.
"I asked the player if he could promise me he would hit a Missouri player as hard as he hit me," Fambrough said. "When he said yes, I told him there was no need to apologize to me about anything."
Colorado 10, Kansas State 9: Boise State, the school Dan Hawkins left, is ranked No. 14 in the nation. The Buffaloes will try to get their second victory this weekend. It won't be easy.
Oklahoma 21, Texas A&M 17: Stephen McGee has thrown one interception in 225 passes, but he's never faced a defense quite like the Sooners'.
Texas 41, Oklahoma State 28: Foes average just 41.2 yards rushing against the Longhorns. Bobby Reid and Adarius Bowman must drop a Kansas-type performance to score the upset.
Texas Tech 24, Baylor 14: Graham Harrell, Tech's quarterback, has averaged 336 passing yards a game, and has thrown 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
(The contest is currently closed. Good luck to all who entered.)