Kansas Head Coach Bill Self and Players Preview Cornell Game

Jan. 5, 2010


Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On Cornell and its ability to shoot the three:

“Believe it or not, the second and third-best three-point shooting teams, statistically, are going to play here tomorrow night. The team that will probably have the most success is the team who defends the other’s three the best. Cornell takes more three-point shots than we do, but they just flat-out shoot it. They have six guys who are shooting a higher percentage than Sherron’s [Collins], which is a pretty remarkable stat considering Sherron is shooting 41 percent from three. We really have to take away threes and take away lay ups. It will be very similar to how we wanted to defend Michigan.”

On the benefit of having tight, hard-fought games, like that of Memphis, as the team prepares for Big 12 Conference play:

“I don’t think there is any question that we could use whatever scenario is laid out. I would rather have a close game if we play really well, but if we play poorly and it’s close, I probably will not get as much out of it. To me, the key to having a great season is not winning the games we play great in; it is winning the games where you have to labor. That is the difference between having a pretty good season and a great season. You have to find a way to win those games. We have not really had the opportunity to play in many games like that, but there were a couple. As a coach, I can say whatever: `I hope this, I hope that’, but during the game, I know I’m hoping it is not close. We do need to play in games where possessions are magnified.”

On the level of play in the Big 12 this season:

“I think it is going to be great. I think K-State is really good, and to me they are the most pleasant surprise. Not that they are a huge surprise, but still, they are top 10 in the country right now. I think Texas could win a national championship. There are several other teams: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Missouri, that are teams who have a great, great chance at making postseason play. It is the best the league has been since I have been in it and we have had some pretty good years. As far as how we compare, I don’t really know where we stand because when playing in games where possessions are not magnified, you really do not know how guys will react under pressure.”

On the depth of the this year’s squad:

“This is the deepest team I have ever coached. I think “deep” is often considered eight good players. Now, a really deep team is nine and you’re off the charts if you can get 10. We were in a situation where we redshirted two guys, so we didn’t have to try and get 13 or 14 in the game. So, it is a deep team and not everybody is going to play or be happy with their playing time. But hopefully everyone will be happy with the results. The practice court is the proving ground and we have had many competitive practices. I do believe in playing the guys who perform the best in practice.”

Junior Center Cole Aldrich

On the challenges that Cornell presents:

“I think it will be a big challenge. They have some size to match up with us, but I think most importantly is they have a lot of seniors on their team. They have four senior starters on their team which will produce a good challenge for us. We are going to have to defend them in other ways than other teams like Temple or what not because of their shooting ability. They are going to be a good team. It is going to be another tough game, but it will be one of those fun games that will make us better.”

On how the team has reacted coming off a big road win against Temple:

“It has been good. We have had a few good days of practice, but we are ready to get back on the court again. We just continue to try and get better every day. When we played Temple on Saturday we definitely got better. I thought we defended very well and we had a lot of energy that helped us a lot.”

On being named to the Naismith Award List Along with Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry:

“It is pretty cool. To have Sherron, X, and me on that list is special because there are so many good basketball players on that list. We would all tell you that it is an honor to be a part of it, but our team will always come first.”

Junior Guard Tyrel Reed

On playing against fellow Burlington, Kan. native Geoff Reeves:

“I really haven’t talked to him much lately. The last time I talked to him was this summer when we were both back in Burlington visiting. I grew up playing with Geoff and he is a great person. He could really shoot the ball in high school and I’m sure he still can. He was really good and it will be fun playing him.”

On the Cornell game:

“They are a good team and it will be a tough game for us. They play very smart basketball. I think they have only lost two games, with one of them coming against Syracuse. Coach Self told us that Coach Boeheim said that Cornell was one of the better teams they have played so far this year. It will definitely be a challenge for us.”

On the fear of Cornell catching fire from the outside:

“You hope not. They are really good shooters and the biggest thing we have to do is pressure the ball and not give them open looks.”

On having two kids from Burlington, Kan. playing in Allen Fieldhouse:

“I am sure everyone from Burlington will be watching the game. It is just really cool to have two kids from Burlington to have the chance to play in such a great building like Allen Fieldhouse. I know there were will be a lot of people at the game so it will be exciting.”