Kansas University junior guard Sherron Collins on Monday was named second-team All-America by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin was a first-teamer with DeJuan Blair (Pitt), Stephen Curry (Davidson), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) and James Harden (Arizona State).
Collins was joined on the second team by Luke Harangody (Notre Dame), Jodie Meeks (Kentucky), Jeff Teague (Wake Forest) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn).
He’s OK with seed, site
KU coach Bill Self refused to criticize the NCAA Tournament committee Monday for shipping the No. 3-seeded Jayhawks to Minneapolis to play No. 14 seed North Dakota State.
KU fans must make the seven-hour drive from Lawrence to Minneapolis if they wish to attend the game; N.D. State fans a 31⁄2-hour drive from Fargo, N.D.
An alternative could have been placing KU in Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Remember, Ohio State is playing in nearby Dayton, Ohio, as a No. 8 seed.
“It is unique we are a 3 going to Minnesota playing a 14 that is only three hours away,” Self said. “It’ll be a huge deal for them. They’ll get a lot of fans there. But everybody can look through a skewed perspective.
“I think the committee got it right. The committee did a good job. I was thinking we’d be a 3 with an outside chance at a 2. That’s probably what Mike (Anderson, MU coach, 3 seed off to Boise) was thinking, maybe what Jeff (Capel, OU coach, 2 seed in Kansas City) was thinking. I just think OU was the fortunate one. We had every opportunity to be a 2, all we had to do was play better against Baylor (in Thursday’s loss in Big 12 quarterfinals in Oklahoma City).”
Self thinks the committee looked at driving distance in some cases.
“They send us to Minneapolis; that’s a drive for most people. OU to Kansas City is still a drive. Is OU to Minneapolis still a drive?” Self said. “I don’t know. I thought the 2 seed would come down to us, OU and Missouri, and how the committee viewed what was most important. Obviously they viewed the whole body of work as most important. They viewed losing a couple games with Blake Griffin (out) as being important. I am not complaining. We had a chance to do it, and we didn’t get it done,” added Self, who believes a win or two in OKC would have assured KU a 2 seed in K.C.
He’s scouted the Bison
Self already has watched plenty of tape on North Dakota State thanks to director of basketball operations Brett Ballard, who taped many of the Bison games since February.
“They are good, very good,” Self said of the Summit League regular-season and postseason-tourney champs. “They had a guy go for 60 this year — 60,” Self exclaimed of senior guard Ben Woodside scoring 60 points in a 112-111 triple overtime loss to Stephen F. Austin in December in Des Moines, Iowa. The 5-11 Woodside hit 14 of 32 shots (two of six threes) and 30 of 35 free throws in the game.
NDSU coach’s view
North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips on playing KU in the first-round: “It is humbling, and it is an honor to be playing a program with so much tradition. Dr. James Naismith coached there for gosh sake,” he told the Fargo Forum newspaper.
“Collins is one of the premier point guards in the country, and (Cole) Aldrich is turning into one of the best big men in the country,” Phillips added. “It’s quite an inside-outside punch. But what truly concerns me is the other guys around them.”
A No. 14 seed has beaten a 3 seed 15 times since the tourney field was expanded to 64 teams back in 1985.
“Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich … I could keep going down the list. They are an unbelievable team,” senior guard Woodside told the Forum.
“We’ll try to approach it like any other game,” senior forward Brett Winkelman said.
“But we fully realize we’ll have to play an unbelievably great game to have a shot of knocking them off.”