Kansas Coach Bill Self and Players Preview Tennessee Game

Jan. 8, 2010


Head coach Bill Self

On playing Tennessee after its suspension of four players:

“I’ve said this several times and I truthfully mean it: Mike Anderson and Bruce (Pearl) probably do the best job of anyone that I’m aware of, of taking their personnel, fitting it into what they do and not skipping a beat. There are times when Missouri or Tennessee’s leading scorer is out of the game and you don’t even realize he’s out because of the way they play with interchangeable parts. That’s a compliment and they obviously will miss their full complement of players, but they certainly didn’t play like it against Charlotte. Now, it will give Scotty Hopson a chance to take over and do what he’s capable of doing. He’s their best prospect and they’ll probably go to Wayne Chism more, which will be hard to guard for us. From a depth standpoint they wont be as deep, but from a team standpoint I don’t see them changing much at all.”

On playing the last game before the conference season:

“We will just go in and try to win the game. No matter what happens Sunday, it’s not as important as what happens Wednesday. I’ve always felt that non-conference games are not as important as conference games. Our goal every year is to win the league and you can’t win the league in the non-conference, but it’s still a big game for us. Obviously, it’s going to get some national attention, but I’m really looking forward to us getting back at a decent time so we can start preparing for Nebraska. Our guys will be excited to play against Tennessee and we wont prepare for anyone other than Tennessee, but the conference season is the more important season.”

On the competition of the league this year:

“I’m not saying that we’ve played great, but I think you can make a case that we’re one of the best teams out there. I think you can make a strong case that Texas is one of the best teams out there and I think whenever you’re ranked in the top 10, you can make a case that K-State is as well. I don’t know that we’ve had three teams that have been in the top 10 at the same time as long as I’ve been here. Texas is a good of a team as I’ve seen in the country and Texas Tech has had a great start. Baylor’s also had an exceptional start and Texas A&M is off to a good start being ranked a majority of the time. No one is going to want to play Missouri. There are some good teams in our league. It’s the best that it’s been since I’ve been here and I think it will play out to be thought of that way nationally as time goes on.”

Kansas junior guard Brady Morningstar

On what Sherron Collins means to the team:

“He means a ton obviously. You can see throughout the years the impact he has had on this program. He is probably one of the best guards to ever play here at Kansas. He’s a scorer, our leader, a defender and his mentality on the court changes everybody else’s mentality. We are glad he is on our side.”

On how Collins led the team to victory versus Cornell:

“He did a lot of it by himself, scoring-wise. It is something we saw him do last year that we haven’t seen him do a lot this year. Hopefully it means he is turning the page for this season where he can take over games like that when he needs to and show that he is the best point guard in the country.”

On Tennessee’s style of play:

“Yes, I think you can see that coach [Bruce] Pearl has them running up and down the court quite a bit. Last year they came here and pressured the inbounds a lot. I think that is one of their main styles of play, which we just try to work on at practice before the game.”

On if he thinks the team is underrated in terms of speed:

“I don’t know if we are underrated. I just don’t know if we look to it as much as other teams in terms of pressuring the ball out-of-bounds. Coach does tell us all the time to get the ball and g and play fast.”

On how he feels about the team relying on Collins to win games:

That’s great to have that card in the pocket knowing he can come out there and put points on the board when we need it and no one else is scoring. It is good to have that, but I don’t think we should put that on his shoulders to do that every game.”

Kansas junior center Cole Aldrich:

On Tennessee having to play without four suspended players:

“They’re still a great team. They played Charlotte the other day without those guys and they played really well. No matter what, it’s going to be a great game; it’s going to be a fun game. It’s an away game for us, so it makes it that much more important.”

On his memories of the last meeting:

“It was fun. It was one of the more fun games to play in the (Allen) Fieldhouse last year. We had a great crowd, and we played really well. But now the tables are turned. (The game) is at their place, and they’re starting to play well, so it’s going to be another fun game.”

On if last year’s win over Tennessee was a turning point:

“I think it was a little bit. When we played them, we were still young and we didn’t really understand things, so it was definitely a step towards improvement last year. But that was last year’s team, we have some different pieces this year, and it’s still going to be a tough game no matter what.”

On if this is the best the Big 12 has been:

“I think we have a tough conference every year. The last two years I’ve been here we’ve had five or six NCAA Tournament teams. I think that’s great (for us) because it proves that we’re in a tough conference.”

Kansas sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor:
On if the win over Tennessee was a turning point for the team last year:

“I think it was. I think it proved to some people that we could beat some of the best teams. I think some people underestimated us a little bit last year, because we were so young and people didn’t know what we had. But we played a good game against Syracuse and a good game against these guys.”

On if the conference has ever been this strong:

“It’s definitely the best it’s been since I’ve been here. I remember Oklahoma being ranked high last year, and Texas being ranked high, but three teams like this (in the Top 10), it’s good for the conference.”