NCAA Selection Reaction Quotes

March 14, 2010

Kansas Head Coach Bill Self

What was the reaction in the room for the announcement?

“We weren’t like some of those last at-large teams that got berths, but guys are excited. It was anti-climatic to know that we would be a No. 1 seed, because we basically knew that going into the day. To be the overall No. 1 it is good even though it doesn’t mean anything. It will be a good recruiting mail-out this week. After you look at the bracket you say ‘well I don’t think we had a lot of favors done to us,’ but you can look at all the brackets, and coaches from whatever perspective can do that because coaches are great at believing that every opponent is tough. In the NCAA Tournament every team should be tough. We are excited, but know that we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

What do you know about Lehigh?

“Not much. I know (CJ) McCollum can really score. Some of our players watched their championship game. 24-10 and play in the Patriot League. We will totally respect that because we played one other team from the Patriot League a few years ago (Bucknell). I am sure we will be reminded of that. They are obviously good and deserving. Their coach Brett Reed has been there three years and obviously has done a good job. We will be excited to play.”

Does being No. 1 overall carry a burden?

“You could spin it however you want to – a blessing, a burden. We all try to do that. We have been ranked No. 1 all but (four) weeks this year so we are kind of used to that. Even though the committee made it known that we were the overall No. 1 seed, when you are ranked No. 1 in America other people viewed you as the No. 1 team whether it was deserving or not, so I don’t think it will be that big of a deal to our guys.”

The announcers said this is the toughest regional:

“Just looking at it from the seeding standpoint, I would agree whole-heartedly. If we are the No. 1 overall and you have a team out there that is the No. 2 seed (Ohio State), that several people thought were in the conversation for a No. 1 seed. Then you have, in my opinion, a team that played unbelievable down the stretch. Anybody that can score 91 points on Syracuse, you know they can beat anybody any night – in Georgetown. Then your No. 4 seed (Maryland) is your ACC co-champion. Your No. 5 seed (Michigan State) is the Big 10 co-champion. You can make a case looking at it, but you don’t play all of those teams… We are not even concerned about that. I think you can get carried away with the NCAA Tournament if you look ahead. You can’t look ahead because if you look too far ahead, you will be preparing for something that there is a chance that may never exist. You have to stay in the present and the present is this weekend.”

Junior center Cole Aldrich

On being the No. 1 overall seed:

“I think it is a great. We have worked so hard for such a long time to put ourselves into a great position, which I think we have. No. 1 seed overall or not, it all starts over again. It is a whole new season for us. Everybody is fighting for their lives from here on out.”

How do you not look ahead in the bracket?

“It is pretty easy for us, at least for the guys who have been through it the last few years, we know how hard it is to actually go and play those games. Lehigh is going to be another tough game – 16th seed or not – it doesn’t matter. This is the NCAA Tournament.”

Is it comfortable to be playing close to home?

“I think it is great. Wherever we are we always have a great fan base. Being in Oklahoma City, it is about a four-hour drive so it is relatively close and we hope to have a lot of fans there.”

Any advice for Xavier Henry playing in his hometown (Aldrich played in his hometown of Minneapolis last year)?

“Just do the same. I went through it last year. You just have to make sure there are no distractions and go out and play your game and just have fun.”

Senior guard Sherron Collins

On watching Leigh in the Patriot League game

“I was just watching games. I like watching basketball. It was a real interesting game. I don’t like watching blowouts. It was close. I never knew we would be playing Lehigh. I just watched it because it was on.”

On the toughness of the region and maybe not being rewarded:

“You aren’t supposed to be rewarded in the NCAA Tournament. That is why teams make the tournament because they are good. Everybody has a tough bracket and has tough matchups. We got prepared for it by winning the Big 12 Tournament. This is the tournament. It is going to be hard to win.”

Sophomore forward Marcus Morris

On which teams jumped out at him:

“Georgetown. We kind of wanted Michigan State. We feel like we still owe them. And Ohio State. Those were the ones that jumped out at me.”

On if the team feels they were not being rewarded for being the No. 1 overall seed:

“To us, it really didn’t matter. We knew we were going to be No. 1 after we won (the Big 12 Championship yesterday). After the season, it just matters who goes out and plays and wins.”

On the individual talent in the region:

“There’s a lot of great talent in this region; there’s a lot of great players. You forgot a couple of names; Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State). There are a lot of tough guys. But players are going to play and the teams that come out and play their best are going to win. And hopefully that’s us.

Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor

On how the players focus on the first game at hand:

“It’s tough, but I think that’s what we have to do as a team. I think we have to keep each other focused on that and not look ahead because it’s easy to get distracted, especially when you see teams like Michigan State in your same bracket and it’s the same team that beat us before. Of course you want to look ahead and I wish we could play them but you’ve got to take it one game at a time because it is the tournament and everybody’s coming to play so we can’t look past any team because they could upset us. There is going to be a lot of upsets because it’s March Madness and there’s always a lot of upsets. We’re just going to try and stay focused with the task at hand.”

On what the team knows about Lehigh:

“I watched them yesterday a little bit when I was getting my ankles taped before our game. They’ve got a good team. They’ve got a really good guard (CJ McCollum). He was the Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year in their conference and he averages something like 18 points. They also have a real big guy that Markieff (Morris) says he dunked on in high school (Zahir Carrington, Sr., F, 6’7″, 220, Philadelphia, Pa.). Their point guard is really good; his assist to turnover ratio is 15th in the country Coach Self said. So they’ve got some players and I know they shoot a lot of threes, so we’ll have to guard the three-point line. We’re just going to have to play.”

On if it’s validating to be named the No. 1 overall seed:

“It is special because we’ve worked hard to get that. We’ve worked hard all year and it’s paid off a little bit. But being the No. 1 seed now doesn’t really mean anything at all because it’s March Madness and everybody’s coming to play. It’s tournament time. Everybody that is here deserves to be here so they’re going to come ready to play.”

Freshman guard Xavier Henry

On if he’s always wanted to play in the NCAA tournament:

“I really didn’t think about it until my senior year when I started getting serious about college. Now I’m happy and now I really want to play in it. And I really want to win it so I’m just going to keep up with my team.”

On if he considers himself a gym rat:

“Yeah, kind of, because I’m always active either doing something to help my game or I’m doing something with my family. But I’m never just in the house watching TV.”

On if he’s seen Lehigh play:

“I just watched the game the other night when they played in their conference tournament. They looked alright. We’re playing a pretty good team. We just have to prepare for them like we always do.”

On if it’s hard not to look ahead in the bracket:

“For me, it’s easy because I don’t really like to look ahead too much. I like to just handle what’s on my plate right now and prepare for the next game.”