Friday, March 12, 2021

KU’s Bill Self on pulling out of Big 12 tourney: ‘The end game hasn’t been affected’

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. Kansas won 64-50. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches from the bench during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa State, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Ames, Iowa. Kansas won 64-50. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


In a phone interview Friday afternoon, just hours after telling his team that Kansas had withdrawn from the Big 12 tournament because of a positive COVID-19 test within the program, KU coach Bill Self said the whole morning felt eerily similar to delivering the same news in 2020.

“Last year was right around 11 o'clock,” Self began. “This year was right around 11 o'clock. Same hotel. But it wasn't the same room. It was the same setting with the players, ‘Hey everybody hold on here, I want to talk to everybody.’ A lot of similarities.”

The one major difference that Self could feel, however, was that last delivering the news to the 2020 team was crushing while Friday’s unexpected meeting was more of a temporary setback.

“Last year was a knockout punch,” he said. “But this year’s more of a blow that knocks you down but you don’t know if you can get up. But we will. The end game hasn’t been affected this year.”

Self declined to reveal the identity of the KU player who tested positive on Friday — joining already-sidelined Jayhawks David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna in entering COVID-19 protocol — but did say that KU’s stretch of consecutive tests required by the NCAA to leave for Indianapolis started well before Friday.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “We’ve been getting tested every day for a while now.”

The NCAA has said that teams selected to compete in the NCAA Tournament will need to produce negative test results on seven consecutive days before even leaving for Indianapolis. The teams will all be tested again upon arrival and tested throughout the NCAA Tournament, as well.

As long as those tests administered to the Jayhawks continue to produce negative results with the rest of the team through the weekend, KU plans to leave for Indianapolis on Monday.

Self said the Jayhawks took Friday off and would practice in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday and Sunday while preparing for the NCAA Tournament in what he dubbed “a very unique way.”

Depending on the time of their departure, Self added that KU also may practice in Kansas City on Monday morning.

“The NCAA recommended to practice before you leave, because I think we will be unavailable to practice on the day we get there,” he said.

The Kansas coach’s concern with KU’s practice schedule and flight itinerary provided an indication of his optimism surrounding KU’s chances to play in next week’s NCAA Tournament.

“The end game has not been affected much,” Self said. “But it does put pressure on us to prepare in a very unique way that probably very few teams have ever had to do going into an NCAA tournament.”

Asked what that looked like, in terms of film work, on-court preparation and the like, Self said simply, “I don’t know yet.”

“You prepare without your full complement of guys, knowing you're going to get your full complement of guys back at a certain time,” he added. “It's just going to be a little different.”

NCAA officials announced last week that teams would need just five eligible players to be allowed to compete in this year’s tournament.

While that obviously would put any team at a disadvantage from a depth perspective, the idea behind the number was to make it as easy as possible for teams who are selected to the Big Dance on Selection Sunday to participate.

Self said it was not yet certain whether the player who tested positive on Friday would be able to play next weekend.

“It would be close,” Self said. “I’m not sure.”

The NCAA Tournament is slated to start with the First Four on Thursday, and first round games begin on Friday and Saturday.

Self also noted that McCormack and Enaruna, who missed Thursday’s win over Oklahoma while isolating back in Lawrence per COVID-19 protocols, would not travel to Indianapolis with the team on Monday.

"We feel like we've got unbelievable safeguards in place," Self said. "So we're still confident that we're going to go to Indy on Monday and, hopefully, still be seeded in a pretty good slot. I think we should be still seeded in a pretty good slot, and we'll get ready to play either on Friday or Saturday."

That confidence extends to the team's feeling about its chances once it gets to Indianapolis.

"I think the team is very disappointed," Self said of not getting a chance to play on Friday night. "I think it's obvious we're coming into our own. We may not have won, but somebody would have to play well to get us right now."


Barry Weiss 1 year, 6 months ago

so the fact that DMac and Christian are not traveling to Indianapolis with the team mean they have covid or just that they would travel separately?

Ted Hume 1 year, 6 months ago

yes. that means either McCormack or Christian has tested positive, and they will travel to Indianapolis once they are cleared. Hopefully it's Christian

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

No, it does not mean one (or both) tested positive. It just means they were exposed to someone who later tested positive and the amount of time it takes for them to be cleared after exposure won't be over yet when the team leaves. This is why they will be joining later (assuming they don't test positive between now and then).

Had they tested positive, they would be out a week or more AFTER symptoms are gone or after the last positive test (if they had no symptoms), which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to happen.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 6 months ago

Self is great at putting a smile and positivity, but just once I want to hear someone say how much horse**** all of this is. Let’s say I agree 100% about the virus and how serious it is. How do we do both things? Play but yet the moment someone has a positive test it turns into Ebola protocol? Let be honest why they are playing...Corrupt NCAA cannot afford 2 years in a row with no tournament. This whole charade of Covid is to make it look like we treat everything so serious but when the game is played all of that goes out the window with contact, sweat, etc. We are all being played for fools.

Ted Hume 1 year, 6 months ago

yes, typo. Tristan. Sorry Adam, about the 400,000++ people who have suffered and died from the fake virus. It's too bad that it has interrupted your basketball enjoyment. What an inconvenience it's caused you.

Cory McCart 1 year, 6 months ago

it does suck, but yes, i agree, ted. the funny thing is they are still trying to pull this off, and it could turn out to be quite the cluster...

Ted Hume 1 year, 6 months ago

sorry, 400,000+ Americans. millions worldwide. fake news

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Ted - It’s actually 500k+. It’s also good to realize that no one knows how many of those people died FROM CV, because the CDC changed the parameters for deaths certificates related to CV. It’s listed on the death certificate if it’s present regardless of what the person died from. Just part of the hocus pocus with the pandemonium pandemic.

The disease is real but the response is so much nonsense.

Ted Hume 1 year, 6 months ago

Dirk, that's why I was being conservative by a factor of 20%. I know at least two of those 500,000 personally, and it wasn't hocus pocus to them, or to their families, to their children. It was very much real.

Brian Mellor 1 year, 6 months ago

500K plus is still being conservative on the full effect of the pandemic, as that is still an undercount of the actual excess deaths that magically appeared in early 2020 and continued on through the year into now. If the claim is that they aren't all from the Pandemic disease that's been in the news all this time, then they should have an alternate explanation for What exactly has caused it. I'm sure it was probably Antifa.

Although, I would agree that the response to this has been so much nonsense from the beginning. I suppose that's what happens when the priority of leadership isn't curtailing the problem or addressing it in any meaningful way, but simply making sure that money flows into the same hands it always has at the same rate or better.

And that's how I choose to interpret Adam's comment as well. There's a long list of safety precautions and rules they're following for show-face value, but they're poorly spread spackle to conceal that if the goal was stopping the spread, neither the tournament nor the season should have happened at all. As a society, we've chosen half-hearted mitigation of the impact from the disease, because stopping it meant shutting down the Machine for a time, and we don't have the stomach for it.

Brian Mellor 1 year, 6 months ago

But it's sure been interesting, lurking on this site that's not often worth commenting in, watching the same names continue to say the same things with only slight evolutions, as the numbers continue to rise towards and beyond the half millions. But it makes sense when you realize that 'just the flu' to 'overcounting' to 'just a city problem' to 'herd immunity' to 'we were all gonna get it' is all just saying the same thing: 'I don't wanna make sacrifices, or change in any kind'.

Steven Haag 1 year, 6 months ago

Yes, I’m scared to death of this virus with a 99.8% chance of survival. (Sarcasm inserted) Experts say that if the mask isn’t worn correctly, it’s highly ineffective....basically useless. An estimated 99% of people don’t have a proper mask or wear it incorrectly. My mother tested positive. She is 77, diabetic, high blood pressure, on 5 different medications, didn’t even have to go to the hospital. I have friends that tested negative, but got letters telling them to stay home because they tested positive. I even have friends who WEREN'T tested and got letters that they tested positive

Let’s be honest. I can respect those who disagree, but are at least truthful. The virus is real. For those who have other underlying conditions, the threat is greater, but not guaranteed to die. Younger people are almost guaranteed to survive. They have a better chance of dying in a car wreck. Maybe we should ban vehicles and save lives. Most Americans are smart, if they feel sick, they stay home. If a mask makes you feel better, wear it. Shoot, wear a full body armor suit and walk around like a zombie, I really don’t care. Just don’t make me conform to your ideology. I spent 27 years in service fighting to protect the Constitution, allow me the freedoms I fought for.

Blake Brown 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said. Actually, the survival rate is 99.991 without any "treatment" and jumps up to 99.992 with. As a health care professional, I am embarrassed by the lack of transparency in being truthful with the public and citing accurate statistics as well as the experimental, unproven status of the shots, the free license drug companies have to experiment without fear of legal recourse, the chemical makeup and the mechanisms involved in what they are intended to do and so much more. And to shame others and mandate getting the shots is very misguided at this juncture. There's so much more that needs to be shared and so much we can do individually to keep our immunity up. I wish you and yours optimal health and well being and may the Jayhawks be healthy and successful on the next stage.

David Nelson 1 year, 6 months ago

It concerns me sometimes on how uneducated people are on comments, brash and angry. I don't think people are idiots, but I think they post without thinking.

Let's start with 532k people have died in the past year. The only thing that kills more in the US annually is Heart Disease (659k) and Cancer (599k).(Neither of which are contagious) This covid disease is nasty and the largest infectious killer we have ever seen.

532k people have died from Covid, 30M have had it. That's 1.7%. Flip a coin 6 times in a row and if it lands heads each time it is the same odds. Is it high, no. Would I be willing to flip a coin 6 times in a row and if it was heads every time I die; no. I'll take some inconvenience and isolate. It is a free country and those that are at lower risk have the option to go out. But there are mandates in place that require masks to protect others. That isn't removing your constitutional freedom. That is simply a common decency to your fellow people. Our country together is trying to figure this out - we need to work with each other and stop fighting each other. And listening to the idiotic, inciting news networks (left and right) are only hurting us as a nation trying to figure out what to do next. (Is the death rate actually this high - I doubt it. But it is not insignificant. I also recognize it varies on age and health. But after 35 you start becoming susceptible. It doesn't just kill people in nursing homes)

Car accidents kill people, absolutely. But there are rules and laws in place to reduce the deaths. Does not allowing you to drive drunk take away from your constitutional rights? What about reduced speed zones in school zones? Or speed limits at all? Are we all abashed on not being able to travel at the speeds we like? Seat belts? When seat belts became a law in the 80's people revolted literally comparing leaders to Hilter as they made laws requiring them to be worn. Now we don't think twice when we buckle up - it's the law, and it's saves lives.

As a species we hate change, and we are animals of conformity. We are also quickly moved to hate of any that challenge these two things.

Sadly, if we prepared properly and the whole US went into lock down for 3 weeks; no one left their home. We could beat this disease. It would be gone. But we don't have a government we can entrust with that power, and we don't have a country willing to make the sacrifice.

So we move forward in an imperfect world. The disease is real, and likely will be the new norm. Vaccines will improve, masks will become stylish and common/standard in certain venues. And we will become accustomed to it, and life will move on.

Bob Zielinski 1 year, 6 months ago

If everyone stayed locked in their homes for three weeks COVID would be gone? What if there was some weird event where a person, a lone traveler, walking about the Rio Grande river area, stumbled across the border and they had COVID and they forgot to return home and started living here in the US? Would we be immune from catching COVID because we all spent three weeks locked away at home already? Or would we need to do another 3 week stint?

Josh Galler 1 year, 6 months ago

The reason they travel separately is the time line. If they exposed on wed and they have no symptoms and no positive test they isolate for 7 days which means it wound be travel next wed however if has symptoms abs no positive test isolation is 10 days and that be Friday or sat travel. Most likely since we heard news on Tuesday they prolly exposed that weekend meaning they would be able to travel Tuesday to Thursday. For that one player I feel we will know by Monday who it is by seeing who is traveling.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

Josh, we know who tested positive, it's Jalen Wilson. Also, thanks for using your brain and looking up how the isolation and travel protocol works rather than just assuming Dave and Tristan tested positive (like others above assumed).

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 6 months ago

Steven, are you aware that there are Covid outcomes other than "perfectly fine" and "dead"? 99.8% of them didn't die but WAY more have had long-lasting side-effects (including my perfectly healthy, athletic, not overweight, no underlying conditions, 35 year old wife). If you want to ignore all of this and just point out one statistic that you feel supports your point of view then that's fine but it sure as hell doesn't mean what you think it means. Just because your mother didn't die from it doesn't mean it's no big deal for 99.8% of people, nor does it show anything other than she's the exception, not the rule. My neighbor's 52 year old healthy brother and 84 year old father who's got a list of health issues a mile long both got it (they live together so they even had the same strain). The 84 year old had flu like symptoms for a week and then recovered. The healthy 52 year old brother was in the hospital within 3 days and died a week later. Does the fact that it didn't kill the 84 year old mean it was nothing to worry about for the 52 year old? He was a Covid denier prior to death though so maybe it was just karma that killed him and not Covid?

If you're not capable of figuring out why your car accident comparison is irrelevant then there is no point in trying to explain anything else to you.

Lance Hobson 1 year, 6 months ago

Steven Haag, thank you for your one useless data point about your mother. That clears up everything. 1% of 330M is a terrible death rate and alarming odds. Just do what the experts say and not spread misinformation that taken seriously will kill people.

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