Bill Self Previews USC Game

Dec. 20, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – On Tuesday afternoon Kansas head coach Bill Self answered questions from the media to preview the team’s upcoming game against USC. Below are some of Coach Self’s responses.

Kansas head coach Bill Self
On how the team will regain its focus after the Davidson game:
“We had a decent practice this morning. From a maturity standpoint, when you have momentum, you want to extend it. When you don’t have momentum, you want to curtail it and cut it off. That’s just what we need to do. We need to be excited to play and go into Christmas with a great frame of mind. Certainly, a win in California will help us do that.”

On how much more important maturity and focus becomes on the road:
“We’ve played four games at neutral sites, but it’s neutral. Certainly, going on the road is different. You have to have a tighter huddle and need more focus. We’ve been such a good road team through the years, but this is one that we don’t quite have as much margin for error. We need to really be focused and disciplined – some things that we really haven’t been to be quite candid with you, except in stretches. We haven’t put together 40 minutes on somebody else’s court away from home. That will certainly be a challenge for our guys.”

On if he feels KU should be the favorite to win the Big 12 Conference at this point:
“No, not at all. Anybody in the league could have us. I do think that we’re going to have a good team. I think we’ll have a good conference run, but to think that we would be a favorite right now, I think we have a long way to go before we can even consider ourselves to be one of the best teams. But I do think we have potential to get there.”

On what he remembers about last year’s game against USC:
“That was Josh (Selby)’s coming-out party, obviously. He made some plays. He played great. They played through their bigs, and that may have been Jio Fontan’s first game. They came in and had every opportunity to beat us. We were fortunate that Josh made a couple of plays late to get us the win. I remember (USC head coach) Kevin (O’Neill) when he was at Arizona, we beat them in overtime in Brandon (Rush)’s first game back after his ACL (injury). We’ve always had tough games with Kevin’s team. Kevin’s teams are always great defensively. Last night they hung 83 points on TCU who’s pretty good defensively, so obviously they’re scoring the ball better.”

On what he would like to see from the team against USC after the loss to Davidson:
“I’d like to see a lot of things. I’d like to see us actually attempt to guard, get in a stance and win 70 percent of the 50-50 balls. I’d like for us to not give up layups, to be able to have enough discipline to defend the entire (shot) clock and not break down. I’d like for us to not play tired and to play with more energy and more passion. Offensively, I’d like for us to run our stuff and actually try to execute what we do rather than basically being out there on our own. When we run our stuff, we’re pretty good offensively. We just have poor ball and body movement way too many possessions.”

On if Conner Teahan tried to shoulder too much of the blame after the loss:
“He cares, but he didn’t lose the game. No one person lost the game. We all lost together. Coaches, players – that was a group effort. I wish he wouldn’t say that (taking the blame talking to the media), but when somebody screws up in practice, Conner always says, `my bad,’ just to make sure it takes the pressure off the other guy. He’s unbelievable that way. He gets it, but certainly no one feels that way around here.”