Bill Self discusses his Kansas basketball team's 79-52 exhibition win over Washburn.
The Jayhawks face Michigan State to open the season on Tuesday.
A former guard and assistant coach at the University of Kansas, Washburn head coach Brett Ballard returned to Allen Fieldhouse as an opponent Thursday night.
After KU's 79-52 win, Ballard discussed how it felt and how his Ichabods handled taking on the No. 1 team in the country.
A day before his No. 1-ranked Kansas basketball team’s second and final preseason exhibition, coach Bill Self was asked if he’d prefer the Jayhawks were flying under the radar entering the season.
“I’d prefer to have good enough players to be ranked number one and not be ranked there,” Self replied, while fielding questions inside Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday afternoon.
“That’s probably the perfect scenario, but that doesn’t happen like that. I’d rather be there than not there. And the fact that if we don’t play to it early on, I think that’s OK, too, because I don’t know what a preseason ranking is supposed to be — who the best team is on November 5, or who is projected to be the best team over time,” Self said.
“I do believe that we’ll be OK early and hopefully pretty good,” the KU coach added. “But I know we can be very good after we get a little experience under our belt.”
Self addressed the preseason expectations surrounding his team and many other topics, including facing a former assistant, Washburn head coach Brett Ballard.
Kansas City, Mo. — During Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s hour of speaking with reporters Wednesday afternoon at Big 12 media day, the verdict in the federal trial on college basketball corruption came through.
Self was informed of the guilty verdict and asked for a reaction, but declined to comment in the moment.
“I will have a comment after sometime this afternoon our university makes a comment,” Self said.
Kansas City, Mo. — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby fielded several questions regarding the federal trial on corruption in college basketball on Wednesday morning at Sprint Center, site of Big 12 basketball media day.
With reigning conference champion and national preseason No. 1 Kansas often coming up during the trial the past couple of weeks, Bowlsby was asked about possible ramifications for KU, the timetable for the NCAA looking into the matters addressed in federal court and how much of a black eye this has been for college basketball.
While Bowlsby said he had spoken with both KU basketball coach Bill Self and athletic director Jeff Long, the commissioner stated they weren’t at liberty to share a lot of information.
San Antonio — Bill Self's post game speech was every bit a reminder to his team of what it had accomplished.
The Jayhawks finished the season 31-8. They won the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships and reached the Final Four under Self for the first time since 2012.
"Of all the teams that have gotten to a Final Four that we've had," Self said, "this one was probably the least expected one to do it."
Villanova, on the other hand, is still dancing.
The Wildcats knocked down a Final Four record 18 3-pointers en route to a 95-79 win over KU on Saturday.
"Today was a perfect storm early," Self said. "Unfortunately for us we were on the wrong end of it."
San Antonio — Although 30 years ago Larry Brown coached Kansas to a national championship, he downplayed his role with this year’s Jayhawks on Friday at The Alamodome.
“I’ve got a vested interest in Villanova and Kansas, because I love both of the coaches,” Brown said, before the Final Four showdown between the two programs, adding he has a lot of respect for Michigan’s John Beilein, as well.
“I’m just thankful I’m around and can enjoy it,” Brown added. “Proud of the kids and proud of the people that are involved in my life that I’m able to be here.”
When Brown used to coach the Philadelphia 76ers, Villanova coach Jay Wright said, he would spend time around the Wildcats’ staff and make various X’s and O’s-related observations.
Brown said he misses that part of being a head coach now more than any other aspect of the profession.
San Antonio — Malik Newman doesn’t hold any ill will for his midseason benching.
“I deserved it,” Newman said. “If you was watching us play, I definitely wasn’t providing enough for the team.”
Since being benched and having a “man-to-man” conversation with coach Bill Self in the middle of Big 12 play, Newman’s play has picked up dramatically.
Newman has scored in double-figures in seven straight games and he’s scored 20 or more points in five of them.
“It was a process, it was just me finding myself and doing a lot of soul searching,” Newman said. “Never doubted myself, I mean just trying to find the person that I knew I was. Trying to find out where he was.”
San Antonio — After deboarding the bus at the team’s hotel Wednesday night, Kansas coach Bill Self, back at the Final Four for the first time since 2012, said his players seem focused headed into a national semifinal versus Villanova.
“Today was good,” Self said of KU’s practice in Lawrence, before the team headed to Texas. “Considering two days off, effort was good, attitude’s good. But how could you have a bad attitude right now?”
While the players have taken pride in getting to college basketball’s grandest stage, Self said they also realize there’s work left to be done.
“You’ve come this far,” he said, “don’t you want to go ahead and finish the job?
The Jayhawks’ coach also provided updates on family members of international players hoping to attend KU-Villanova at The Alamodome this weekend, and discussed some of his thoughts on the Wildcats.
Omaha, Neb. — Less than an hour removed from his team advancing to the Final Four, KU coach Bill Self was asked if he could put into words the emotion he was feeling.
"It feels unbelievable," Self said. "That was a big-boy game, heavyweight bout. We fortunately caught 'em late with a pretty good right."
Self called the game, which KU won, 85-81, arguably the second best he'd been a part of at Kansas.
The only one he could definitively rank above it, Self said, was the championship game in 2008, when KU defeated Memphis 75-68.