What they say, what they think
The folks in Kansas are saying all the right things. At the Lawrence paper's KUsports.com site, Gary Bedmore writes:
KU's opponent, Bucknell of the Patriot League, already has the Jayhawks' attention. In 2002, Holy Cross of the same league fell to KU, 70-59, in a first-round thriller in St. Louis.But the story also makes mention of a possible distraction for the Jayhawks:
"They won at Pitt, and that caught everybody's eye," Self said. "They also lost a close game at Ames (62-55 loss Nov. 27), and we know how tough it is to go to Iowa State and win."
KU's players respect the Bison. "I've kind of followed them since they beat Pitt. They've earned our respect," senior Keith Langford said.
Way down the line is the meeting that already has the media in a frenzy -- KU versus North Carolina in the Elite Eight. The Jayhawks would not meet Bill Self's former team, Illinois, until the NCAA title game.Could KU get caught looking ahead?
"It would be incredible," Langford said of the KU-UNC matchup. "That's the story of college basketball right there. If it happens, the relationship is good off the court (but) if the time comes Kansas does play North Carolina, there's no love between the lines. If that happens, it will be an emotional time.
"But we're not playing against coach Williams. It's not like Roy Williams is going to be standing out there for the jump ball."
"If it is a distraction we won't even get a chance to get to that game to play them," Self said. "Carolina is not on my brain at all. This is a two-game tournament we play this weekend. If we play well we go to another."Of course it is easy for the coach to say that. A more difficult task is getting the players to think that.