In a Friday afternoon phone interview, just hours after telling his team that Kansas pulled out of the Big 12 due to a positive COVID-19 test within the program, KU coach Bill Self said the whole morning looked eerily similar to communicating the same news in 2005. 2020.
“Last year it was exactly around 11:00,” my self began. It was around 11 am this year. The same hotel. But it was not the same room. It was the same place with the guys, “Hey everyone, I want to talk to everyone. Lots of similarities.”
However, the only major difference Selfie could feel was that the latest news delivery for the 2020 team was overwhelming while Friday’s unexpected meeting was a temporary setback.
He said, “Last year was a knockout punch.” “But the biggest blow this year that frustrated you but you don’t know if you can stand up. But we will. The final match this year was not affected.”
Self refused to reveal the identity of a Kuwait University player who tested positive on Friday – joining Jayhawks David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna in entering the COVID-19 protocol – but said the KU extensions are one of the consecutive tests the NCAA has requested to leave to Indianapolis. It started before Friday.
He said, “Oh, yeah.” “We have been testing every day for a while now.”
The NCAA said teams selected to compete in the NCAA Championship will need to produce negative test results over seven straight days before they leave for Indianapolis. All teams will be tested again upon arrival and tested throughout the NCAA Championship as well.
As long as those Jayhawks’ auditions continue to yield negative results with the rest of the squad over the weekend, KU plans to leave for Indianapolis on Monday.
Self said the Jayhawks are out on Friday and will train in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday and Sunday while preparing for the NCAA Championship in what he described as a “very unique way.”
Depending on when they left, Self added that Kuwait University may also train in Kansas City on Monday morning.
“The NCAA recommended that you train before you leave, because I think we will not be available to train on the day we get there,” he said.
The Kansas coach’s concern about the Kuwait University training schedule and flight path was an indication of his optimism about Kuwait University’s chances of playing in the NCAA tournament next week.
“The final game wasn’t much affected,” said Self. “But this pressures us to prepare in a very unique way that may have been a very small number of teams participating in the NCAA Championship.”
When asked what that looked like, in terms of cinematic work, stadium preparation and the like, Self said simply, “I don’t know yet.”
He added, “You are preparing without your full team of men, knowing that you will get your full complement of men at a certain time.” “It would be a little different.”
NCAA officials announced last week that the teams would only need five eligible players to be allowed to compete in this year’s tournament.
While this would clearly place any team at a disadvantage from a depth perspective, the idea behind the number was to make it as easy as possible for the teams selected to participate in Big Dance on Selection Sunday.
Self said he had not yet confirmed whether the player who tested positive on Friday would be able to play at the end of next week.
Self said, “It will be soon.” “I’m not sure.”
The NCAA Championship is scheduled to begin with the first of four on Thursday, and the first-round matches begin on Friday and Saturday.
Self also indicated that McCormack and Enarona, who missed Thursday’s win over Oklahoma while being locked out again in Lawrence as per the COVID-19 protocols, will not travel to Indianapolis with the team on Monday.
“We feel we have incredible guarantees,” said Self. “So we are still confident that we will go to Indy on Monday, and we hope to stay in very good condition. I think we should be ranked very well, and we will prepare to play on Friday or Saturday.”
This confidence extends to the team feeling its chances once it reaches Indianapolis.
“I think the team is very disappointed,” Sylv said of not getting a chance to play on Friday night. “I think it is clear that we are coming into our group. We may not have won, but someone has to play well to lead us now.”