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March 15, 2015

Bill Self

COACH SELF:  Good evening.  Have at it.

Q.  How much do you think yesterday's resultsmattered?  
COACH SELF:  You know, I don't know how much yesterday's result mattered to be honest.  I think no matter what, it would have been hard to pass Gonzaga as a 2‑seed, even if the outcome was different yesterday.  Maybe we could have, maybe we couldn't.  But I think based on the way the outcome was, if we were going to be a 2‑seed‑‑ got what we should have had and that's by being in Kentucky's bracket, without question.
But after that, it's a hard first game; if you study‑‑ I think New Mexico State is 23‑10 but they had some injuries.  That's the reason why they lost some early.  And Marvin, we've played them in the past and they have given us a handful when we've played them.
But they are good.  I watched them last night on TV just flipping channels and of course the second‑round matchup would be a dream matchup for Bob Lutes (ph) without question.  But it would be a situation where you get a chance to play, if you're fortunate enough to win, the winner of Indiana, storied program; or Wichita State, which how in the world they are 7‑seed blows my mind, 28‑4.
So I thought the Missouri Valley to be honest probably deserved a little more credit than what they got because I think they were not seeded.  I thought they would be a higher seed.  And I thought Northern Iowa would be a higher seed, too.
But you've got to lace 'em up and you've got to play, and certainly our goal is to go win two games this weekend and we'll adjust from there.

Q.  What do you tell the team today?  What was the message?
COACH SELF:  You know what, if we get a chance to play; if this team gets a chance to play in the Elite 8 game, then it's been a hell of a year, you know, let's just call it like it is.  And regardless of who you play, it would be a great opportunity for a one‑shot deal to go to the Final Four.
But you look at the other brackets, do you want to play Wisconsin, do you want to play Duke, do you want to play Villanova, whatnot.  The answer would be:  They are all good.  Kentucky has been a different level, without question.  But we don't even need to talk about that.  I hope we have to talk about that next week.
But we need to win a four‑team tournament this weekend, and that will be the same goal of New Mexico State and it will be the same goal of Wichita State and Indiana.  But it will certainly be some pretty good ball.  There's some good teams playing in our pod.

Q.  Will you try to get some rest for your guys?  What do you think your schedule will be like?
COACH SELF:  Well, we are going to practice tomorrow.  We took today off, and I'll be candid with you:  Kansas City was maybe a little more taxing on us than what you guys know, because we are beat up.  I mean, we are beat up.
We'll do a recovery lift tomorrow, and certainly if we do much tomorrow, it will be primarily shooting and then we'll get‑‑ I think Friday helps us, so then we can maybe go real light tomorrow, whether it be 30 or 40 minutes and then really get into it on Tuesday and Wednesday before we leave.
But you know, the most important thing is try to get our bodies back fresh.  Landen is really nicked up.  Perry actually did very, very well, even though he's not close to where he needs to be, so this next four days are real important for him to get that bounce back and that fire back in his jump and explosion.
Frank's played a lot minutes.  He's tired.  Wayne played a lot of minutes in the tournament.  We had some guys play a lot, a lot of minutes.  I think a day and a half of rest will probably be good for us.

Q.  Have you watched New Mexico State?
COACH SELF:  I watched, flipping channels.  But I actually went through it today‑‑ because I usually don't do this.  I go through all the teams that could be in the‑‑ the ten teams that would be seeded 15 or 16, because there's six 16s and there's four 15s.  And I had New Mexico State as like a 13, so they weren't in my pod of teams that I selected.
So I was surprised when we drew them.  But I've said that most years I think; that as soon as you get in, your first thinking is, gosh, that seems harder than what other got.  But when you really start studying it, they are all hard.
But it is a hard first game.  It is a hard first game, and certainly we've got to be ready come Friday, because this team, we've shown that when we are good, we are good but when we are not very good, we can really labor in a lot of ways and we can't afford to take any more five‑ to ten minute breaks like we did last night.

Q.  Do you agree with7 for‑‑
COACH SELF:  Yeah, I did.  I was happy about that.  I guess Texas was really the only team on the bubble because Oklahoma State was at nine I think, so they weren't on the bubble.  But I was pleased for Texas and happy for Rick.

Q.  Do you think the selection committee has a little bit of a sense of humor, Wichita State‑‑
COACH SELF:  I told hurry our guys that‑‑ that's the first thing they said, gosh, thing, what are they thinking.  I told our guys, you know how many bullets we dodged throughout my coaching career on potential match‑ups like that?  There's been a lot of potential match‑ups that we dodged Wichita State or they damaged us; or we dodged Carolina or they dodged us, and a lot of ways that it took, you had to win two or three games before you would have a chance to matchup.
So I don't know, I don't want to say that they have had a sense of humor about it, but I will say this:  I was thinking they were a lot better.  When the brackets were coming out and I was going through it, I said, well, you know, worst‑case scenario, if they gave Northern Iowa a 4, they would be a 5.  They gave a team a 2‑seed line higher when Wichita State won the league outright.
But in our league, we win the league outright and get beat in a tournament but we are lying higher.  So it's not really consistent in how they did things.
But there's also all this criteria that goes into it and then you try to keep teams travel‑wise closer because there's such a problem with charter airplanes.  Charter airplanes has been a problem with the NCAA Tournament because you want to play as many teams as close to home as possible so that there's less planes that you have to use and you don't have the problems that we had last year.  I think there's a lot of different things that go into it.

Q.  With the game just up the road, what do you expect fan‑wise?
COACH SELF:  In Omaha?  We've always had a good turnout in Omaha.  But if I'm not mistaken, isn't Wisconsin up the road, too, and they will travel great.  It will be great venues.  Of course we won't be playing‑‑ except on Sunday potentially, we won't be playing where Wisconsin would be playing, because obviously the first night it won't‑‑ but Wichita straight will travel great and we always travel good to Omaha.  If you remember back, we've had a pretty couple of good runs going through Omaha.  We won it in '08 and got to the Finals in '12.  So I'm not at all disappointed at all about being in Omaha.

Q.  What do you think about Larry Brown getting into the tournament?
COACH SELF:  Well, he was going to get in because they won it, but what a year, I think they are like 28‑6 or something like that.  I watched the game‑‑ they are good.  I was really hopeful that they weren't a seven or whatnot because I know that that would be a talked‑about game.  But now we've actually given you guys even more to talk about than that from a potential standpoint.
But I'm really happy for Coach.  Really happy for Coach.

Q.  What was your team's reaction?
COACH SELF:  You know, our guys really don't get too excited about too much, as you guys know how we play sometimes.
So their excitement level was basically, do we need to stay and watch the rest of this?  We know who we're playing.  So I mean, they are ready to move on from there.  But I think that they are excited, and I know one player that should be more excited than anybody else just from a potential standpoint and that would be Perry, because he's‑‑ potentially, if we win and if they win, potentially that sets up a pretty big matchup for a guy from that hometown.

Q.  Do you remember a year when a team was as prohibitive a favorite as Kentucky?
COACH SELF:  No.  I mean‑‑ no, and deservedly so.
I think when we saw them early, we obviously weren't any good that day, but they were great.  And we've actually gained on that but the scary thing is they have gained on it, too.  They are a lot better now than they were back then.
They are the‑‑ I saw something in Vegas, Norm was talking today, he said, they are 10 to 11 to win the National Championship, and the other teams were 7 to 1 or 25 to 1 or whatever.  Norm said, "What does that mean."
I said, "Well, it means you have to bet a dollar and ten cents to win a dollar, where everybody else would bet a dollar to win $25, if you're 25 to one."  He figured out real quick, well, they are favored then (laughter).
So I tried to explain that to them but probably didn't do a very good job.  I don't know if we've ever had a team ‑‑ and Larry, you may know better than me, that was even‑‑ you can't even get even money based on what I read in Vegas, which I shouldn't be talking about Vegas (laughter).  But that goes to show you, my point is, that I think they are a pretty heavy favorite.

Q.  How would you judge the overall success of the season from this point going forward?
COACH SELF:  Well, this has happened, and you may not agree with how I assess our team, but we have had a real good season.  We have had a real good season.
But in order to say, hey, it was a great season, you've got to do well in ‑‑ the Big12 tournament counts, but it doesn't really count.  And just like if you win‑‑ how about Wisconsin.  They get a chance to celebrate the Big Ten championship for five minutes, and then forget about that, they go into the next deal.
Iowa State gets a chance to celebrate until about two o'clock today and then they will focus in and do everything else.  We get a chance to feel sorry for ourselves until about two o'clock today and then that's over.  Our energy is totally refocused.  It's the shortest time frame that you can either be sad or you can celebrate anything.
And so it was disappointing, obviously, to lose.  But if we had have won, I'd feel the same way today as I did, because the other thing is fresh and new and that kind of stuff.  So that was disappointing.  But there's not a long hangover with it.
But in order to make it a great season, we have to do good in the Tournament.  To me, I think this Tournament will determine whether or not it's a real good season or whether or not it's a great season, how we do in Omaha, to be real candid with you.
I would love to be able to go to the Sweet 16 and play maybe the hottest team in the ACC potentially and then play the best team in the country.  And if you're able to do those things; if it happens, it happens, but if it doesn't, it doesn't.  But certainly I do think these first two games are definitely what I would evaluate this particular team's success on as far as to make it great.

Q.  After what you lost early, would you have taken a 2‑seed?
COACH SELF:  Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.  If you had told me we were a 2‑seed before the season‑‑ we played‑‑ we played our walk‑ons the last three minutes against Kentucky, and usually, we don't do that.  Especially when you're down 35.
After that game, I was thinking, ahh, can we even win; can we get to ten, or can we get to 15.  Being a 2‑seed, obviously it means the guys have gotten a lot better and tried real hard.  Really proud of them.

Q.  How do you approach Cliff going into theNCAA ‑‑
COACH SELF:  I'm not ‑‑ I don't even think that I should even talk about Cliff anymore with you guys.  There's no new information.  I don't have any new information.  I've already told you what our feelings were, and if there's new information, you'll get it.  But until then, I don't even think it deserves mention because all it does is take away what's really important.  Right now, it's just our guys getting ready to play.

Q.  You talked about‑‑ is there any way as a coach that it can be‑‑
COACH SELF:  I think we can be fresher.  I think Landen needs a couple of days.  He's gone from a guy that if he was beat up four weeks ago, well, that's fine, sit him out, if you've got him, you've got him.  Now he goes, gosh, we've got to have him.
Certainly the same way with Perry.  You know, Perry did so good in Kansas City ‑‑ because he needed to get hit.  He needed to have some things that would happen if he waited till next week happen this past week so he gets past that.
I think that was all a bonus right there.  So I think that we can be as close to whole as we have been in the last month probably if we are able to get some rest this week.

Q.  Did you see what happened‑‑
COACH SELF:  No, not really.  But we've been on him a lot and he's been very conscious of it to not settle, and I think he did a better job of not settling.  Those last two games, he didn't have a good game against TCU at all, at all.
And we had a lot of talking, we did a lot of talking with our entire team on how displeased we were because I think it's a reflection of attitudes more than it is talent on all those things, and his attitude has been so good the last two days, and he didn't settle and he took the ball to the hole and was aggressive.
I thought he played great over there, great.  And we see that as a positive.  Kelly Oubre was great one game.  Wayne was great one game.  Frank had his moments where he was really, really good, and Perry then didn't have his balance.  But if we can get those four guys playing well, we'll be hard to deal with.

Q.  Is there a feeling of momentum as you head into the tournament or is it truly a reset?
COACH SELF:  I think it's both.  I think if you've got momentum, you talk about momentum.  And if you don't have momentum, you talk about reset, and sell it however you need to sell it.  But I think a lot of coaches would probably tell you that.
I actually think that‑‑ the first half yesterday against Iowa State, considering the circumstances and T not being himself yet and all that stuff; hey, that's about as good as we can play.  We didn't make shots and we still played good.  And then in the second half we didn't have the same intensity level at all and let them get where they wanted to get.  And then just struggled so much coming back.
But even that being said, you're down seven with five left and you still come back and tie it with a minute left and had your chance.
But I was proud of our guys.  For 25 minutes of that game, we were the better team, but the other 15, we were not even close.  They whipped us.  So there was some good things that happened there, how we defended the rebound against Baylor was a huge positive, how we rebounded the ball against TCU was a positive.
So I think we have some positive things going.  But we need Perry to be back healthy, that's the bottom line and when he gets that back and he gets that explosiveness and that quick twitch back, I think we'll be a much better looking team.

Q.  All year long most people thought‑‑ was the best conference.  How much do you think that will be validated depending on how they do in the NCAA Tournament?
COACH SELF:  Last year we were rated the No.1 conference, too, weren't we?  Weren't we won last year, or two?  I can't remember.  Thought you guys covered us.
But the bottom line is, that we didn't do well in the tournament, our league as a whole.  I think Iowa State was the only team that advanced to the Sweet 16 last year.  So we didn't do real well as a league, and I think that did kind of devalue the regular season.
And of course, it is important to have your teams do well in the postseason and the seedings that we have, certainly reflected us‑‑ we got a two and three threes.  That's unheard of almost.
So the seedings did reflect that the committee thought very favorably of our league and how good the league was, which they should have.  But I think to validate it, you've got to go play well and have some teams, you know, whether it be three or four teams, get to that second weekend or whatnot.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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