Self, Jayhawks Preview Upcoming Week

Feb. 16, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self and select players met with the media Monday afternoon in Hadl Auditorium to discuss the upcoming week.

Men’s Basketball Press Conference Quotes

Monday, Feb. 16, 2009

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

On guarding Craig Brackins:

“We’ve left ourselves some wiggle room in trying to hold him under 42. We did a good job on everybody else and after watching the tape, he made some hard shots. We can probably guard him better, but he was really good that day. And he got to the free-throw line. We’ll try to come up with some ways to maybe limit his good touches, but he’s going to probably score some points. He’s scored pretty much against everybody, when he’s made shots.”

On if his team’s stats exceed the expectations for a young team:

“I don’t think we’re great offensively. But I didn’t think we would score as many points as we’re scoring. We turn it over way too much. We’ve shot the ball at a pretty good clip. We don’t take a lot of threes, but we’ve shot the three-balls somewhat decent throughout the year, especially in conference play other than at Mizzou. Defensively, I think our field goal percentage defense is pretty good. If you look at it, you’d say we’re a pretty good defensive team, but we’re not creating near as much havoc as we did last year. Last year, one of the reasons why we shot a high percentage was because we got so many layups. We’re not getting that same number of layups this year.”

On if he’s surprised by his team’s performance thus far:

“I’m pleasantly surprised a little bit. I thought we’d be good by conference play. I said that all along. I think we would have been better in non-conference if Mario (Little) would have been with us the whole time. These guys have done a good job. We don’t play great all the time, and we’re not going to. But they’ve done a good job, and they’re learning how to compete harder. They’re getting tougher. They don’t finish games the way I would hope, but hopefully we’ll get better at that as we go because we know there are a lot of close games left on the schedule if we’re able to get to postseason play. I do think this has been a fun group to be around. I’ve probably enjoyed this group the last couple months about as much as any group I’ve had. I see growth every day.”

On if this year’s team reminds him of the 2006 group:

“It reminds me a lot of that team. That team was ridiculously young. We started two sophomores and three freshmen. Sherron (Collins) is a more experienced player than anybody that team had. There are some similarities. I think the talent level on that team was pretty good. We had some future pros on that team. This team I think we have a couple, but I don’t know how those young kids will develop. But this is a fun team to be around. I see a lot of similarities. Even though we have to get better, if we’re able to keep this team intact, the foundation is pretty strong.”

On Mario Little’s playing time:

“I think Marcus Morris was the biggest reason why Mario’s minutes were down the other day. I started Mario and had intentions of playing Mario a lot, but Marcus Morris was fabulous. So if you’re not going to play Marcus, then you play Mario. We weren’t going to take Cole (Aldrich) out that much if we didn’t have to. And that’s the reason why Markieff (Morris) didn’t play the other day, because Cole was good. Against K-State, you need to play either Markieff or Cole together the majority of the time. So it didn’t have anything to do with Mario’s play, it’s just that Marcus Morris was really good the other day.”

On Tyrel Reed:

“He has improved. Tyrel has had a great attitude. We kind of got in some foul situations the other day and he came in and did a nice job and bailed us out. He also probably defended their perimeter as well as anybody on our team did Saturday.”

On how many teams the Big 12 will get into the NCAA Tournament:

“We have a great chance to get five in. We could get a sixth, but somebody’s going to have to get hot. The thing about it is, with our league, the good teams in the middle still have to play each other. If you beat up on each other, it gives the appearance of mediocrity. That’s not the case at all. I think our league will get a solid five with a chance to get six. Two weeks ago, I thought we would get six in for sure.”