Here are some questions for Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and his candid answers as Friday's start of the 2006-07 season draws near.
Q - Are expectations too high for this team, ranked in everybody's top five?
A - "I don't know. I would say we've got good players, and expectations should be high. We will not shy away (from them). We are a team that won six less games than Florida in the NCAA Tournament, and that team returns everybody.
"We've got a long ways to go. It (hype) makes for good recruiting, but other than that really doesn't mean anything. It's just something for fans to talk about more than anything else. It should be the best team we've had since we got here, but that's on paper."
Q - Should we assume the freshmen McDonald's All-Americans (Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins) will start this season?
A - "You should assume there are no freshmen starters, unless, over time, they outplay the other guys. If we were to play tomorrow based on what I've seen, there would be no freshmen starters.
"I really don't know who I'd start. I'd say those returning perimeter guys (Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson) and Julian (Wright) would be favorites. The five position ... Sasha (Kaun), C.J. (Giles), Darnell (Jackson), Shady (Arthur's nickname), any of those guys could start. We don't have anything etched in stone."
"It will be tough to beat out the guys who played the majority of the minutes last year. We've got some new guys who are pretty good. They will make those other guys (returnees) work."
Q - Do you have one too many big guys for available minutes?
A - "Not one too many. We really don't have five big guys. We've got 4 1/2 because we plan on playing Julian on the perimeter some. It's hard to play more than four. That's why there will be some competition there (for players) to really be in the rotation, excluding foul trouble and injuries."
Q - Will you cut your rotation to a core group of seven or eight players this season?
A - "The perfect world is eight. At the end of the season we only played eight. You have a core seven play the majority of the minutes. You've got two more play 12 minutes a game or something. If you had seven people play 25 minutes, you are still 25 minutes short. You could still play two more guys 13 and 12 (minutes).
"It's not really (going to be) different, but early in the season it'll be a lot different. Last year we were playing 11 (early). I hope we will not (this year). I know what seven of them can do. Right now we are trying to implement a couple more guys. We know what we've got this year. Last year we were all new. We have a little better idea. It will take us a while to get everything hammered out."
Q - The season begins Friday and will end in March or April. Is the season too long?
A - No. No. We started Nov. 1 my first year at Oral Roberts. I think it's been Oct. 15 every other year. The season is long. That's why you have to watch how you handle your preseason so you just don't totally wear your guys out. That's why we condition two hard weeks (Boot Camp) as opposed to four to six hard weeks.
Q - Is junior Russell Robinson the standard for players in the country (to look up to) considering how far he's come since he arrived as a freshman?
A - "I don't know about the country. He has been pretty rock solid with us. He has come a long way since his freshman year. He certainly is that (standard) for us."