Let the Madness begin! The NCAA Tournament field is set and your number one overall seed is the Kansas Jayhawks, who kept their momentum going on Saturday with a win over Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Jayhawks begin their quest to make the Final Four with an opening round game against Lehigh in the Midwestern Region. Many think the Midwest is the toughest bracket, with a very strong #2 seed in Ohio State, a versatile Georgetown squad as the #3, a Maryland team that’s playing awfully well on the #4 line, and a #5 seed in Michigan State that ended Kansas’ season last year in the Final Four.
Jayhawks head coach Bill Self joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about if he had any complaints about the draw that his team got as the #1 overall seed in the field, on if his coaching style changes when his team is a favorite rather than an underdog, if he’s in favor of expanding the field, and if he expects Kansas to get to the Final Four.
On if he complained at all when he saw the field yesterday:
“No, and even if I did, I would never tell anybody that publicly. But no, I didn’t. I tell you, every year you can go through and say which brackets are the ones that probably stand out as being the toughest, and sometimes they play out that way and sometimes they don’t. But you would think looking at the Midwest that it is a loaded field.”
On if he’s a different coach as an underdog or as a favorite:
“I don’t know, I don’t think so. I think the underdog can take the approach we’re playing with house money, you know, nothing to lose and everything to gain; just let it go. And sometimes the favorite can try to hang onto something or have the attitude of ‘if we can just get through this’..which I think is a terrible attitude. I mean, I’ve been in the Tournament where I’ve felt that way and that’s the worst way to feel and that’s also the worst way for your team to play is ‘if we can just get through this’. We need to go attack. And so whether we’re favored…and if we are favored it’s because we got really good players, so the best players should step up and play this time of year. So I’ll take being a 1 seed any year.”
On if he’s in favor of expanding the field of 65:
“I’m for adding more teams, I just don’t know what the formula is. I would like to have some things in front of me – and you probably would too – where you can say ‘okay, this is why we’re thinking this way.’ I think expansion is good. There’s more teams now, it’s more opportunities for kids obviously to participate in the best thing our sport has to offer. In football it’s bowl games – more kids participate in that percentage wise than basketball by probably triple. So I’m okay with expansion, but I don’t think you should punish teams that have had the best season because of expansion. And what I mean by that is I really think there can be an advantage to having a game under your belt in the Tournament playing against somebody that hadn’t played yet. I could be wrong on that, but that’s why I think you see a lot of conference tournaments where a team that played a play-in game beat one of the higher seeded teams the next night. Because there is that little bit of anxiety that exists. That may be how it plays out, but if we go to 96 teams, how are you going to do it where the better teams, the teams that had the better year is not penalized in any way, shape or form. But I do think we’ll go to it, I just don’t know the model yet or the time it gives the teams a chance to rest and prepare. So it will happen, and I hope it does happen but I’m just not comfortable with the model because I haven’t seen one yet.”
On if he expects Kansas to be in the Final Four:
“You know, I haven’t had that question posed to me like that, but I would say yes, I would say we do expect. And I hate to use the word disappointed, because if you say we’d be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, that means you’re like hoping it to happen. I expect us to play well, and I expect somebody to have to play very well to beat us. But I also know this – we can be had. Any team in this field can be had, and that’s why our preparation needs to be such in which we take not only every game seriously, but we take every possession seriously.”