The Kansas Jayhawks got whipped up on Saturday by the Oklahoma State Cowboys, losing 82-64 in its last game of the regular season. Head coach Bill Self hopes his team has learned a lesson on handling pressure from athletic teams.
“They just dominated us physically,” Self said. “We watched the tape. We actually played better this game than we did the first time we played them, and they beat us 18. How are we going to handle pressure and how our guys are going to be able to get open one pass away, that seems like pretty elementary stuff. But it’s hard to simulate that in practice.
Self had been pleased with the Jayhawks intensity prior to the Saturday.
“I actually thought that we had a good mindset going to Stillwater based on our practices, and we go down there, and we got pumped because no matter how our mindset was, theirs was a lot better, and they played hungrier than we did,” he said.
He also says nine of the ten conference teams deserve a tournament bid. “In this tournament, nine teams deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. You can say that. I don’t see how you could say Oklahoma State does not. I mean, they’ve got too many great wins. But you can positively say that.”
Self is always looking forward to playing the winner of the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game in the Big 12 tournament.
“We’ve lost three of four against those two, and really Oklahoma State has handled us easily for the most part as Big 12 games go. They’ve controlled both of those games. We’ll prepare for both, but the biggest thing I think we need to prepare for is us. We’re not going to be able to practice specifically for knowing who’s going to win the game until we actually play the game. I mean, there’s our practice on Wednesday is before the game happens. We won’t practice on Thursday morning. We’ll try to get ready in theory and in principles on how we would guard and attack both teams, you know, on Monday and Tuesday.
But I think they’ll both be challenges. But I also think they’ll both be fun. No matter who we play, there should be an incentive for a lot of reasons. One, we lost in the first round last year; two, if you get a chance to play OU, you get a chance to go against the leading scorer, leading assist guy in the country in Trae. If you play Oklahoma State, you get a chance to play against somebody that’s obviously handled us twice. So hopefully there will be plenty of motivation on our end.”