Archive for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Self says Gators good, if not great

April 4, 2007


Winning back-to-back NCAA championships has assured Florida's basketball team a place in history.

"I think they are one of the better teams. I don't know if I would say the greatest team ever. I do not feel that," Kansas University coach Bill Self said Tuesday in reflecting on the Gators' 84-75 victory over Ohio State in Monday's title contest in Atlanta.

"The greatest team ever should not lose very often. They did lose," Self added of the 35-5 Gators, who fell to KU, 82-80, in overtime Nov. 25 in Las Vegas. "They got hot at the right time. They took everybody's best shot.

"They are one of the best teams in memory."

Florida became the first team to win consecutive titles since Duke in 1991 and '92 and the first ever to repeat with the same starting five.

"To win one would be very hard. Back-to-back would be unbelievably difficult," Self said. "It would be a lot easier if you have the same five. The tough one is to lose three starters and win back-to-back. They were the best equipped to go back-to-back since the Duke team did it and the Indiana team almost did it (in the mid-1970s). It won't happen very often."

Self, who watched the title game at home on TV said: "I thought the best team won. The difference between winning and losing games late in the season comes to which team makes shots. It is very obvious Florida (which hit 10 of 18 threes to OSU's four of 23) got a few better looks and made most of their open shots. Ohio State didn't make them.

"Florida is a poor free-throw shooting team that went 22-of-25 (from line). If you are not a great free-throw team and go 22-of-25 and hit 50 percent from three, that's how you win."

Self said the fact the Jayhawks beat the national champion didn't make him feel any better about the end of a 33-5 season.

"There are several teams that could play with Florida. I don't know how many, if any, could beat them in a series," Self said. "Certainly it was early in the season. Sherron (Collins) and Sasha (Kaun) had not yet come on, and (Corey) Brewer was not feeling his best. The teams were not totally whole. It does say we could obviously play at a very high level. It was tough watching the Final Four."

¢Threepeat?: Self was asked which team should be favored to win it all next season.

"A lot depends who comes back. If everybody comes back, you'd have to say Florida," Self said. "They return some really good players. If we return everybody, I'd think we'd have a chance to be ranked high. I have no idea on that at this point."

¢NBA talk: Self said there was no news to report on any Jayhawks possibly leaving KU for the NBA Draft.

"There's nothing to say except what we said last time. We're gathering information. I will not talk about it again until next week," Self said, adding, "There is no time frame. Not a drop-dead date. The decision must be made by the 29th."

Brandon Rush is believed to be a possible late-first-round pick, though the draft is an inexact science. Julian Wright is considered a certain first-round pick, but has said many times he'll return for his junior campaign.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Self said of NBA teams' opinions of certain college players.

¢Recruiting: The next college basketball recruiting period begins Thursday. Self will be out of the office the majority of the month recruiting players for the Class of 2008.

¢Movement: Self was asked about all the coaching moves this offseason.

"I think the coaching carousel is like this every spring. There are a lot of reasons it happens. It's created by the interest and expectations of any program. It is something you deal with every year. When you are paying coaches a lot of money and they don't live up to expectations, there are changes. Change creates a domino effect.

"I wish somehow there would be a lot less coaching turnover. A lot of good guys are getting fired, coaches who do it the right way. You are getting guys fired who go to the NCAA Tournament. It's very sad. That type of situation exists in large part due to the expectations placed on coaches and programs."

¢No feather-nesting: Coaches at Kansas traditionally have not used other job openings to further their pay or popularity here. Larry Brown did not interview for any openings until the end of his five-year tenure at KU. Roy Williams did not flirt with other jobs with the exception of his alma mater, North Carolina. Self has yet to interview for other jobs.

"There are not many jobs like Kansas," Self said. "And I don't anticipate doing so," he said of "dangling" his name out there. "Now, KU fans may want to dangle me," he joked.

Self said he "never talked to Arkansas about the job," which was filled for one day by Creighton's Dana Altman, who since has changed his mind and returned to the Omaha school. Self would not comment on whether he spoke to anybody at Arkansas about other candidates. Arkansas AD Frank Broyles sought the opinion of some trusted coaches at the Final Four about possibilities at the SEC school. He told the NW Arkansas Times that Self, who is a friend, educated him about the type of coach Arkansas could attract.

"I talked to Bill Self," Broyles told the paper. "And he said, 'Why am I going to leave the best job in America ? You aren't going to get a top coach already making the top limit of what he can make to move.' The people who have been promoted are like Billy Donovan (from Marshall to Florida) or Bruce Pearl (from Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Tennessee). You don't see many go from one BCS school to another."


Jace 10 years, 7 months ago

Well, hey, at least KU can feel good about knowing that they did beat the National Champs....during the regular season, of course!

For whatever that's worth!

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