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Cliff’s Notes: Bill Self press conference, 12/13/12

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Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

Self said this Belmont game is a good RPI game. It's picked to win its division of the Ohio Valley conference. KU schedules the tough teams in small conferences by design. Belmont plays small and can't stretch it from all spots. That can cause potential matchup situations if KU doesn't guard it right.

• This was a maintenance week for KU because of finals week. KU's players took Wednesday off. Beginning Sunday, practices and film sessions will be more intense because there are no limitations.

Guard Ben McLemore still hasn't played like he can play yet. Just wait till he gets comfortable, Self said. He's scoring better than Self thought he might this soon, because he wasn't sure if he'd be aggressive. McLemore's becoming a much better player. He's unselfish, and he's learning to be more aggressive while being unselfish. He's one of the premier players in the Big 12.

McLemore and KU forward Jamari Traylor learned how to compete going against Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson in practices last year. Also, McLemore and Traylor were stellar in the classroom last year.

SMU coach Larry Brown watches all the KU games he can. Brown called Self after one of the games that KU struggled, and he told Self how good his team was. Self jokingly asked him if he watched the same game that Self did. Brown likes his team at SMU.

• Self doesn't think this year's team is as good as last year's team at this time, because last year's team was more seasoned. It was more battle-tested with its schedule and was more tough. If you take out clips of this year when it plays well ... KU plays just as well at its best this year as other KU teams in the past have played at their best. KU has been an average this team except for spurts.

KU played better against Colorado because of energy level. Self said Travis Releford and Kevin Young keyed that. Young is the only guy with natural energy. Taylor and Robinson had that natural energy. The Morris twins had that. KU doesn't have those personalities this year, those guys that can naturally amp other players up. Releford and Young are the only ones that Self believes do that consistently.

Self said it's not tough to get up for a non-name school. Belmont can beat KU. It could take advantage of ball-screen matchups and have success scoring. Self said KU's players can't pass up any opportunities to play, especially because you only run out of the tunnel so many times.

Self said Belmont could compete in the Big 12 if it played in the conference.

Self said Perry Ellis has done some good things in practice. He played well against CU, but he didn't have much statistical production. His minutes will go up if he continues to be aggressive. He thinks too much still. A lot of KU's guys still think too much.

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