Kansas Earns No. 1 Seed in NCAA Tournament for Second Straight Year
March 13, 2011
– NCAA Tournament Central
Lawrence, Kan. – Kansas has been named a number one seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the second straight year and the fourth time in the past five seasons. Bill Self’s squad will take on Boston University from the America East Conference on Friday, March 18 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The KU-BU contest will begin at 5:50 p.m. (Central) and will be televised on TBS.
The Jayhawks are making their 40th NCAA Tournament appearance, as well as their 22nd consecutive trip to the championship and are a number one seed for the 10th time since seeding began in 1979. The Jayhawks were a top seed in 1986, `92, `95, `97, `98, 2002, `07, `08, `10 and this season.
KU, who is ranked No. 2 in both the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls, is the Big 12 regular season and tournament champions for back-to-back years. This is also the second season in a row that the Jayhawks are 32-2 heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Kansas has won seven straight Big 12 regular season championships dating back to 2005 under head Coach Bill Self as well as four of the last five Big 12 Tournament Championships. This season, KU’s only two losses came at the hands of Texas at Allen Fieldhouse (74-63) and at Kansas State (84-68). KU finished its non-conference schedule with a perfect record (15-0) for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Kansas has won eight games in a row as well as 14 out of its last 15 and is 32-2 overall and 14-2 in Big 12 Conference play.
The seven time defending Big 12 regular season champions are lead by 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year junior Marcus Morris, who is averaging 17.3 points per game to go along with his 7.2 rebounds. His brother and fellow junior Markieff Morris boasts a 13.6 point per game average as well as 8.2 boards. Senior Tyrel Reed gives the `Hawks a solid 10 points per game while junior Tyshawn Taylor adds 9.1 points and 4.4 assists per game averages. Sophomore Thomas Robinson gives KU a presence under the basket with 6.5 rebounds per game and an average of eight points while senior Brady Morningstar adds to Taylor’s unselfish assist total with his 111 total and 3.2 per game average.
Boston posted a 21-13 overall record and a 12-4 mark in conference play en route to its first America East Conference title since 2002. The Terriers defeated Stony Brook 56-54 in the conference championship game on Saturday for the team’s 11th straight victory. Boston will be making its seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
BU is lead by senior John Holland who averages 19.2 points per game and 5.9 rebounds as well as junior Darryl Partin who boasts a 14.5 point per game average and 3.4 boards. Also averaging double digits for the Terriers is junior Jake O’Brien with his 11.6 points as well as his 5.8 rebound per game average.
Kansas and Boston have never met before in the history of the two men’s basketball programs, but KU holds a perfect 4-0 record all-time against current America East Conference members with 1-0 records over Albany, Binghamton, Maine and Vermont.
If the Jayhawks beat the Terriers, they will take on the winner of the No. 8 UNLV vs. No. 9 Illinois game on Sunday. Kansas is 4-0 all-time vs. UNLV and 3-2 against Illinois. Kansas has not played the Fighting Illini since current head coach Bill Self left Champaign to coach the Jayhawks in 2003. Self was 78-24 in three seasons at the U of I, including 1-1 against then head coach Roy Williams and KU.
Kansas in the NCAA Tournament Notes
–2011 is Kansas’ 40th NCAA Tournament appearance.
–Kansas’ 22-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, from 1990-2010, is the nation’s longest active list and ranks second-best all time. North Carolina had 27 straight from 1975-2001.
–Kansas is making its third NCAA Tournament trip to Tulsa and its first since the 1975 regional. The Jayhawks are 2-1 in NCAA Tournament games played in Tulsa. KU’s two victories came during it 1974 Final Four run.
–Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 15-6 (71.4 percent) in the NCAA Tournament, with four Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, one Final Four and one NCAA National Championship.
–In the last nine NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 24-8 (75.0 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), three Final Four (2002-03-08) and five Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08) appearances.
–Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the 10th time since the NCAA Tournament started seeding in 1979 – 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2002, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1992 and 1986. This is the fourth time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self (2007-08-10-11). Kansas is 24-8 as a No. 1 seed and 9-0 against the No. 16 seed. The last time Kansas was a No. 1 seed was last year, 2010, when it lost to Northern Iowa in the second round in Oklahoma City.
Press Conference Quotes
Head Coach Bill Self:
On the pairings in the NCAA Tournament:
“I thought we would be a No. 1 seed before yesterday, even before the Oklahoma State game. I think it’s a tough draw, but I think every coach out there probably thinks they have a tough draw to get where they want to go. You have to beat good teams to get where you want to go, period. I’m excited and I think our players are excited. We knew our name was going to come up. It’s a compliment to the players being a one seed because of how hard they worked all year.”
On the Jayhawks’ the first round matchup with Boston:
“I don’t really know. I know their coach a little bit because he worked for Jay (Wright at Villanova) and he’s done a really good job there in just two years. Traditionally, they’ve had some really good teams over the years, without question. I know they played Tulsa in the NCAA Tournament back a ways. I’ll have a better feel for them after tonight or first thing, by noon, tomorrow because we’ll have had time to watch some tape. When I did my bracket in my mind who the six 16 seeds were going to be, I didn’t even think Boston would be one of them. I was a little surprised to see their name come up to be honest.”
On a potential matchup with Illinois in the third round:
“I think it will be a hard game, regardless of who we play, whether it’s Illinois or UNLV. It’s amazing to me that in 2008 UNLV was an eight-nine seed, last year they were an eight-nine and then this year they are an eight-nine in our region. Even though we haven’t played them but one time, this will be the third time we’ve prepared for them.”
On what he thinks his players are looking forward to the most:
“In any profession, or in life, whatever is imporant to you, it is obviously worth working for and this is a culmination of those efforts. Now you have to go out and make the most of that opportunity and I think that is what our guys are looking forward to the most. Especially after last year when we didn’t do that.”
On worrying about preparing the team for more than preparing for the opponent:
“I think you should always be (concerned about) more about you, regardless of who you play, because if you don’t play well, you aren’t going to win. So many times I think as a coach you worry so much about another team that you forget about what you do. There has to be a balance. There are certain things from a scout standpoint you need to take away and there are certain things you need to attack, but not adjusting how you play, to get that done and I think we’ve been pretty fortunate in that regard. We may tweak, but we won’t change moving forward.”
On Colorado not getting into the tournament:
“I’m shocked. I feel awful for Tad (Boyle). To me they deserved to be in the field. They have six wins against the RPI Top 50. I think you look at we (the Big 12) were the third-best league. They were 8-8 in the league and they beat Kansas State three times and Texas. To me, those are two teams that have a chance to be Final Four teams and that speaks for itself. Somebody is going to have a gripe every year, but from my standpoint, and I’m a little biased, I think Colorado has reason to gripe as much as anybody.”
On Texas being a four-seed:
“I thought that was a bad seed. I really thought Texas would be a two seed after yesterday. Not saying the other two seeds didn’t deserve it, but you are talking about a team that most people three weeks ago thought was the best team in the country. Just because they lose games, which the law of averages caught up, and teams do lose games. I don’t understand that one either, but there are reasons for doing things and certainly I’m not sure the seeds matter that much anyway; I think it’s more about the matchups.”
On what happened last year being motivation for this year:
“I think so. I think it’s kind of a fine line because you don’t want to dwell on the negative and in athletics sometimes you try real hard and you get beat. We’re not going to be the only team in the histoy of the tournament that flames out in the second round. Unfortunately, we’re the last one that’s done it. We’ve talked about it and that should be the motivating factor for our guys since the end of March last year. I think our guys will use that as a reason to be more focused. The thing about this time of year is that any little thing can get you off like distractions, runners, agents. Our guys have to be strong and mentally tough.”
On the parity in this year’s tournament:
“I think there’s a lot of parity. I like my team a lot, but Ohio State deserved to be the number one overall seed. I think they’ve been the most consistent performing team. When we play really well I think you can make a case for us, but we haven’t been as consistent playing to that high level that they have or maybe someone else (has). When you look at those 8/9, 7/10, 6/11 and 5/12 games I don’t see a lot of difference. Don’t be surprised if a team that barely got in is in the Sweet 16 or even further down the road. Anybody can be had if you get hot at the right time.”
Senior Guard Brady Morningstar:
On the selection being anticlimactic:
“It’s exciting. You look around the country and you see a lot of teams waiting to see if they’re in or out. It’s exciting this time of year, it’s so much fun and everyone loves this time of year. We’re all excited. We’ve been through this process a lot of times, we knew we were going to be a one seed and just seeing who else is on our region is pretty cool.”
On his initial thoughts about Boston:
“I don’t know a lot about them obviously. They’re a capable team, they’re in the NCAA tournament and anyone who is in the tournament is capable of winning games. You’ve got to take everyone seriously.”
On how the team goes about preparing:
“We’ll start early tomorrow and take it from there. I don’t know what kind of offense (Boston) runs or anything like that, but we have to take everyone as seriously as we can.”
On the region overall:
“I’m excited. You don’t get to choose who is in your region so it doesn’t do any good to be happy or upset about it. Just taking it all in and seeing who you have the chance to play is cool.”
On last year’s tournament loss as motivation:
“I think it could be a motivating factor for anybody. I’ve been at the highest highs and the lowest lows here at Kansas. I’ve seen a little bit of it all. The experience will help and we are all excited to get it going.”
Senior Guard Tyrel Reed
On Kansas’ region:
“It’s tough. I think Notre Dame had a good chance for a one seed and they’re our two seed, so it’s definitely tough. I think Purdue and Louisville are in there as well, so I definitely think it’s a tough bracket. At this time of year, everyone is good. You can’t really worry about your matchups, you’ve just got to go out and play.”
On the key to handling the tournament pressure:
“I think the key is to be loose and have fun and enjoy the experience. If you’re too uptight, you worry about things and you don’t do all the things you need to do. Just enjoy it, play loose, it’s my last go around so I want to enjoy it.”
On playing a school that starts with `B’:
“No concerns from me, I wasn’t here for (the Bucknell and Bradley games). Maybe Brady was here, but he’s been here forever. But no, I don’t have any Bradley or Bucknell woes; I was still in high school.”
On the team coming together since Thomas Robinson’s tragedy:
“I think that we’re a closer-knit team because of the adversity we’ve faced. With Thomas, I think we’ve tried to pick him up because we know he’s going to have his tough days. I think we’re a tough, strong group because of that. Adversity can help us in the tournament when things are tough and I’m proud of this team. I couldn’t have better teammates.