Does Bill Self Believe Kansas Can Win it All? “I’d like to say yes, but I’m not overly impressed with our consistency.”March 2, 2011 – 9:30 am by Eric Schmoldt
It’s always special when March arrives thanks to the madness that comes with it, and I have to believe that this is going to be one of the more special years simply because the race for the national title seems so wide open. You could give me the name of pretty much any team in the top five and I could come up with an argument why they could make a run to the Final Four.Kansas has been No. 1 at different times this season, so it has to be the mix for the national championship, right? Absolutely, but, as coach Bill Self puts it, it’s not like they are alone. Regardless, not many would disagree that Kansas is most definitely in that mix. It sounds like the Jayhawks have reinstated Tyshawn Taylor for tonight’s game, which will obviously help as well. And when the bracket is announced in a week and a half, perhaps we’ll have a better feeling as to how deep the Jayhawks can go.
Bill Self joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to discuss the emergence of rival Kansas State, the depth of this Kansas team, if they still bring up last year’s stunning tournament exit against Northern Iowa, if the Jayhawks have what it takes to make a run to a title this year, and the importance of winning on Senior Night.
Is Kansas State back to being the team they were expected to be?:
“They’re good. When we played them over there, we laid an egg, bigtime, but they were great. The ball moved, the open man took the open shot, Pullen was unbelievable in that game. … But the other guys are really stepping up. … I think they’re a team that nobody’s going to want to play. If they continue to ascend, they’re a team that can make a serious run.”
On the depth of his Kansas teams in the fact that it seems like anybody can step up on any given night:
“Well, I don’t know if it’s anybody. You know, the year that we won it, we had seven different guys lead us in scoring that year. I think this year we’ve had seven different guys already lead us in scoring, so we’ve got balance. But, without question, Marcus [Morris] is the guy. He’s averaging 19 and 8 in league and shooting 63 percent. He’s been fabulous.”
Given the wide-open nature heading into this year’s tournament, does he bring up how the season ended last year against Northern Iowa?:
“We’ve talked about it, without dwelling on it, all year. I think talk’s cheap and guys make commitments and say, ‘We’re not going to allow this to happen to us again,’ and there’s been numerous reminders. … It’s a reminder on the commitment they supposedly made after that particular game.”
Do the Jayhawks have enough this year to be national champions?:
“I’d like to say yes, but I will tell you this, I’m not overly impressed with our consistency. I really think that good defense, over time, or even in one particular game, can definitely neutralize good offense easier than good offense can neutralize good defense and I think that’s an area we still have another step to take to get better. I look around America and I see a lot of teams that are capable.”
On the importance of winning on Senior Night:
“I think it’s real important and I think guys here understand that any selfish thoughts they have, they’re doubly selfish if they think them on this night. This is all about the seniors, it’s not about anyone else but the seniors and those guys need to perform and have the attitude to give these guys the chance to go out in style. And what I mean by style is winning.”
Listen to Bill Self on ESPN Radio here (Interview begins at 31:45)