KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 09: Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts during the first half against the Baylor Bears during the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Selection Sunday Press Conference
March 11, 2012
Head coach Bill Self
On if he likes the draw KU received:
"I don't know if you ever say you like it or you don't like it because it never plays out the way I envisioned it. I learned that because I used to say, `I like this or I don't like that'. I don't think Detroit is an easy first round game. When you think of a 2 and 15-seed game in the past, you certainly don't see Detroit being on that line. I've only seen them play a couple times, but I know their coach (Ray McCallum) well and of course, we recruited their best player (Ray McCallum, Jr.). We're excited to be where we're at and I don't know if there is any advantage at all of being close, but I think from a fan perspective Omaha and the potential of being in St. Louis would be good for everybody."
On if he likes the toughness of his team:
"I think there are times when we play really, really tough and I think there are times when we don't. I thought in Kansas City, we did not. I didn't think we guarded the two days we were over there. We're certainly going to have to tighten a few things up in that area because I think when we really do guard and rebound our team takes a whole different dimension than when we don't. I think we have the potential to be a very tough team and we just have to be very tough in every phase going forward instead of picking and choosing like we have been doing the last couple weeks."
On the Big 12 not getting a number one seed in the tournament:
"You could make that case. Somebody from the Big 12 deserved a one seed, but I would say this, for us to get a one seed or Missouri to get a one seed you have to take somebody off the one-line. Who do you take off? To be honest with you, I think that would be a hard call. We've been a one seed four of the last five years and of course everybody likes to be a one seed, but after the initial question - how does it feel to be a one seed? - it's totally irrelevant from that point going forward. If we wanted to guarantee ourselves being a one seed, we would have played better in Kansas City."
On if this is the most tested team he has had, as far as teams in the tournament that KU has faced this year:
"We played a pretty hard schedule. One thing about our schedule is that we played number two, three, five and we played Georgetown and I think Duke was in the top five when we played them. It was a monster schedule for us. I think that was very good for us in Big 12 play because I don't think we go 16-2 if we hadn't lost some games to a really tough schedule in the non-conference."
On how much of an advantage it is having players who have been through the tournament before:
"I think the advantage is that there is no safety net for Tyshawn (Taylor) or Conner (Teahan). The next loss is the last game and that's the way it is for all seniors across America in the tournament. I think there is a point of urgency or a purpose that guys will play with because nobody ever wants it to end. Of course, you can't go into a tournament thinking I don't want it to end. You go into it thinking, `we're going to advance'. When you say, `I don't want it to end', that's when it puts a negative connotation on it, that losing is part of the equation. Our talk will be, `hey, looking forward to playing again and can't wait to get to the game'. I do think with seniors the finality of it really motivates a lot of teams. I don't know if that's good or bad. Sometimes young kids don't know they don't know, so I don't know if there is an advantage or not."
On his relationship with Detroit's head coach Ray McCallum:
"Ray's been around a long time and of course he was the head coach at Houston. He was a heck of a player himself. (Assistant coach) Kurtis (Townsend) knows Ray better than me, but he's a really nice man and a good coach. He was able to convince the mother of his best player (McCallum, Jr.) that Detroit would be the best place for him to go. I got to know Ray (McCallum, Jr.) and his mother because we recruited Junior. He's a terrific player and a terrific guard. I'm happy for the success he's had there. This is a league that just went to the National Championship the last two years, so it's a very competitive league."
On if he has a feeling of how well his team will do in the NCAA Tournament:
"I don't know how well we're going to do, literally in pregame warm-ups or when we talk to them right before we go out on the floor. I think that's one thing you realize in coaching over time, pregame shoot-around, whether you make shots or you miss them, whether you are focused or not. Those can have no bearing on whether you play well that night. Sometimes it does, but it's hard to predict. I do like our guys' attitudes and I do think that even though I was very displeased with how we guarded and our attention to detail against Baylor, I think that could be a good thing for us. I think we're okay if we learn from it. To me with this team, when we haven't performed well and we've lost, we've kind of rallied around that and hopefully we'll do the same thing and correct the things that are correctable."
On if he's happy six teams from the Big 12 got in the tournament:
"Oh yeah. I was excited when Texas got in and even our players clapped when Texas got in. I thought that was great and they deserved to be in. You could make a real strong case that Missouri's record and their performance throughout the course of the year would warrant them a one seed. You could make a strong case that Baylor, if you take away three or four performances, they've been in the top 10 all year long and could possibly have been a two. When you have six teams out of 10 in your league get in and you have a two, two and three (seeds), the committee showed us some respect. I don't think anybody in our league would be displeased with that."
On all three Division I schools in Kansas making the tournament:
"It's a great state for basketball. I'm happy for K-State and Frank (Martin). I think they are very deserving and if I'm not mistaken an eight seed and Wichita State a five. Wichita State is very deserving as well. I've heard people say that Wichita State had a path to play the number one seed and they may very well. They have a very good ball club."