Cliff's Notes: Bill Self press conference, 2/6/12
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Self says flopping was something that has been talked about with officials in the past, but there haven't been a lot of games where KU has had a lot of that going on against it. Some players get reputations as being floppers. Self said he had the all-time greatest one at Illinois, Lucas Johnson. Self called him "Fake Hustle" because he fell down every possession, then acted tough when he got a call. Self thinks for the most part, officials have done a better job with the flop, and he's saying that after KU had six charges against Missouri.
• Self has never had a team that has relied on its bench this little, but that's how it's going to be. The thing that was disappointing to Self on Saturday was that KU was forced to play small because Jeff Withey wasn't a factor. That forced Thomas to play out on the floor defensively, which is not KU's strength.
• Self thought Justin Wesley did a great job against Missouri. He was energized and defended out on the floor better than what he's practiced. Self thought KU did a decent job with its bench against Missouri. Conner Teahan played pretty well and hit two big shots. The bottom line is, KU's starters have to be ready to play 32-35 minutes.
• Self doesn't know what happened with Withey against Missouri. KU wanted to throw it inside early, and it didn't. That's on KU's guards too. KU was just a better team when it could play Thomas Robinson alone on the post. KU scored almost every possession the second half. MU's matchup didn't take advantage of KU, but KU's matchup didn't take advantage of MU.
• If you study the game, MU didn't guard the perimeter in the first half. It's hard to get it inside when all of a team's defenders are around a guy in the paint. The best way to open it up is make a shot or two.
• Self thinks his team is pretty tough. He's glad his team is not playing Monday. That would be a quick turnaround. He thinks his guys will bounce back. If KU doesn't play well or win Wednesday, it won't because of the Missouri game. Coaches don't let it go. Kids have girlfriends and go to class. They have other things that occupy their mind. Players bounce back better than coaches.
• Self says his team made two bad plays down the stretch against Missouri. Taylor turned it over and he charged. Other than that offensively, KU didn't make any bad plays. Self doesn't consider missing free throws a bad play. Defensively, KU had to get stops, and it didn't. Robinson got called for a walk up eight, and Self hinted that he didn't see it on the tape. Self said the charge on Robinson ... he wants him to make that play every day of every situation of every game. That has nothing to do with closing. KU did make a couple bad plays, and MU made a lot of good plays. MU's Marcus Denmon made a lot of great plays. He made three straight three-point plays, and if any of those go the other way, the outcome's different. KU could have almost had a shot-clock violation every possession and won the game, if MU had backed off. That's what's frustrating as a coach. Self said he won't let this one go.
• Self says his team played well against Missouri. Self left the game with three things: 1. MU's really good; 2. KU has to close better; 3. KU's really good. If anything, Self is leaving out of Columbia thinking KU has a chance to be a really good team.
• Self thinks Baylor will have a good home court on Wednesday. In the past, KU has had between 1,500 and 2,500 fans there. That might not be possible Wednesday because of the excitement at Baylor with this year's team. MU's home crowd didn't keep KU from leading by eight with three minutes left, though. It's not impossible to play in tough environments.
• Tyshawn Taylor played great against Missouri. If Self had it do all over again, he'd want Taylor on the free throw line more than anyone on the team. Taylor likes that moment more than anybody else. Self doesn't have anything remotely negative to say about Taylor. He lost the ball once and charged once. Self doesn't dwell on missing free throws. The first half, Taylor played so well, KU had a couple bad possessions because Taylor was feeling it too much. Self would run a play, and Taylor thought he saw an opening and would try to make something happen. Still, Taylor had 17 the first half, and defensively he was really good against MU's Phil Pressey.
• Baylor is long. But what makes Baylor different this year is guard Pierre Jackson. He's one of the premier players in the league. He's getting assists, but the Bears are putting the ball in his hands at game point, and he's delivered. Taylor could do a better job against Jackson than he did in KU's home game against BU.
• It's much easier for big guys to play better against big guys. You see that all the time in high school basketball. Big guys can dominate bigs, but playing against small guys throws them off a little bit. Self thinks Withey will play better against Baylor's tall guys.
• Self says Baylor is best at playing around the rim and playing in transition.