Archive for Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Self orders players to rest

Arthur, Kaun banged up in Sunday’s win

March 13, 2007

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After claiming three victories in three days and working overtime Sunday, Kansas University's basketball players were awarded a day of rest Monday.

"Today was a day to get their batteries recharged," said KU coach Bill Self. He had a busy day with media obligations, including his weekly Big 12 media conference call and hourlong Hawk Talk radio show.

"We'll get refocused and hungry this week. Last year after we won the (league) tournament, the guys weren't as hungry at practice.

"We may not play well, nothing guarantees success (in NCAAs), but it won't be because of that," the coach of the Big 12 regular-season and postseason tournament champs added.

Two banged up Jayhawks - Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun - received treatment for injuries incurred in Sunday's 88-84 overtime victory over Texas.

Arthur, who was kneed in the groin area by D.J. Augustin, suffered a bruised pubic bone early in the second half. He tried to return, to no avail, and spent most of the second half and OT icing the bone.

Sasha Kaun fell hard on his back while hustling for an offensive rebound during the second half. Kaun was able to continue playing, but had major discomfort once his back stiffened after the game.

'"Shady' is doing much better today," Self said of Arthur. "He was hurting quite a bit yesterday. I asked him if he could go (against Texas) if he had to. He said, 'Coach I can't run.'''

Self said Arthur "would be getting four or five treatments a day over the next few days. Hopefully the soreness will go away. He wasn't himself after he got hit. Watching the tape late last night ... he took a pretty good shot there."

Of Kaun, Self said: "In the game I didn't realize it was that hard of a fall. If he wasn't tough, he wouldn't have gotten up. I respect him for that. It's a bruised back. He was really sore today."

Self thought Kaun would be able to practice and Arthur may be able to go today as the team begins preparations for the NCAA Tournament. KU won't learn its foe for a 6:10 p.m. Friday game in Chicago until after tonight's play-in game between Florida A&M; and Niagara in Dayton, Ohio.

Self said he'd watch the game on TV. It's against the rules to scout in person.

"We've got tape on both teams," Self said, noting more tapes were to arrive early Monday night. "I've talked to coaches and have scouting reports coming in. The coaches will begin preparations for both teams, but the reality is our players are not preparing for either until Wednesday. Tomorrow we practice a lot on Kansas and start breaking stuff down Wednesday on the winner of that game."

Jayhawks ordered to rest until their first round opponent is revealed

Upon earning the #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks must await the results of a 'play-in' game to determine their first round match-up. Enlarge video

¢ Arthur faces adversity: Freshman power forward Arthur has "had a run of bad luck," Self indicated, noting the 6-foot-9 Dallas native also has been recovering from a virus that hit him hard eight days ago.

"We didn't make a big deal out of his virus. It was a little more nervous situation than we led everyone to believe, not that his health was in immediate danger. It was a scary episode in that the virus in his chest affected his lungs and how he felt in the chest."

Indeed, Arthur told reporters Sunday he felt he might have had a heart attack after awakening with shortness of breath Monday, but quickly learned after heading over to KU's training room and the hospital he had no such attack.

"They did a battery of reps. He cut back on his reps at practice. He's a terrific talent. We need a low-post scorer. We need to do a better job scoring inside," Self said.

¢ Expansion inevitable?: Self was asked if he'd be in favor of expanding the NCAA Tournament to make sure teams like Kansas State, Missouri State and Syracuse were included.

"If the field is designed to get the best 64 in - and they expanded last in 1985 - from that standpoint you'd think it needs to be modified because there are twice as many good teams today than then because of scholarship limitations from 15 to 13," he said.

"Parity has set in. Guys are leaving (for NBA). There are more good teams today and lesser elite teams. It used to be you could punch in who would be preseason top 10 each year. Now you never know. I think it warrants serious consideration. I think a big player in the deal would be CBS. If CBS could make it work to be advantageous to them, I would think it would expand eventually. If television doesn't want it and they are paying billions of dollars, I think they are calling the shot on the thing for the large part, not totally, but in conjunction with the NCAA. Television will play a huge role in that."

¢ No KSU: Self remains upset Kansas State was denied a bid after finishing 10-6 in the conference.

"I think there's a lot of things we need to address. If the Big 12 Conference is sixth in RPI, why?" he said. "We have the third-best winning percentage in the 11-year history of the league. We may have to do some things, Kansas included, maybe schedule smarter. This year we had six new coaches come in the league. They need to do what's best for their program (in scheduling). Rarely do you have a 50 percent turnover in coaches.

"I think we need to perform well in the tournament," he added of KU, Texas A&M;, Texas and Texas Tech. "Kansas needs to do its job, which we haven't done the last two years, and hopefully get everybody talking about the Big 12 going into next year and maybe make some adjustments with our schedule."

KU's schedule next year will include games against Arizona and DePaul at home as well as Georgia Tech, Boston College and Southern Cal on the road.

Jayhawks greeted with "Hero's welcome" after winning the Big 12 Conference Title

Late last night, the Kansas Jayhawks returned from Oklahoma City only to be greeted by several happy fans cheering on the victorious 'Hawks. Enlarge video

¢ Home court in OKC: Self remains amazed at the turnout of KU fans at the Big 12 Tournament.

"I may be off a bit, but there had to be 10,000 Jayhawk fans there," Self said. "It was unbelievable. I think it made a difference."

He had several relatives, including his wife and two children, mom, dad, sister and childhood friends, at Sunday's final.

"That was really cool," the Edmond, Okla., native said.

¢ Solid No. 1: The NCAA committee chair says KU would have landed a top seed even if the Jayhawks had lost to Texas on Sunday.

"It'd be more comforting if you knew that going in," Self cracked. "Our game ended literally 20 minutes before the Selection Show started. How can you make adjustments in 20 minutes? I'd say most of the work was done Saturday and they tweaked some scenarios on Sunday. The committee ... that's a tough job. They catch heat every year. At Tulsa we were 29-4 and No. 12 in the country and a seven seed. I know how Nevada (28-4, a seven seed) feels now. It's an inexact science, but one of the things that makes the tournament great, the human element."

¢ It's just practice: KU will hold a light practice open to the public from 4:25 to 5:05 p.m. Thursday at the United Center in Chicago. The Florida A&M-Niagara; winner will practice from 5:55 to 6:35 p.m.

¢ Hinrich loves KU: Former KU player Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls had team ballboys give him updates on KU's win over Texas prior to the Bulls' game Sunday.

"I'm excited," Hinrich told the Chicago Sun Times. He said he can't attend the first-round game, but plans to attend Sunday's game at the United Center if KU advances to a meeting against Kentucky or Villanova.

"They deserve the No. 1 seed. They've won 11 in a row. The bottom line is you are going to have to play good teams. You've got to bring it. Otherwise you are going home."

The Sun Times asked Hinrich if KU coach Self wants him to give a pep talk before the games.

"He's not going to ask me. He knows I have no motivational speaking skills. I'm just going to be there cheering hard," Hinrich said.

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