Midwest notes: Heat on Self, Jayhawks?

Gerry Ahern
Yahoo! Sports

DETROIT – Now the pressure begins in earnest for Kansas coach Bill Self.

Fresh off Friday's 72-57 rout of No. 12 seed Villanova in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals, Self and the No. 1 Jayhawks are a win away from the Final Four.

It's a trip Self has yet to make in his 14-year head coaching tenure, the past five at perennial power Kansas.

Some have labeled Self as the best coach not to make it to the national semifinals. To stop such talk, he has to knock off upstart No. 10 seed Davidson, a 73-56 winner over Wisconsin in the other semifinal here. The Wildcats have won a national-best 25 consecutive games.

Does the fact that the Jayhawks will be a prohibitive favorite over Davidson bring more angst? Self sees that as disrespectful given what Bob McKillop's team did to the Badgers.

"People will paint whatever picture they want to paint," Self said. "I just see two teams playing against each other. And they're probably playing as well as anyone in the country.

"Beating Wisconsin like that, you just don't do that. You don't beat Wisconsin by that many points. They just don't allow that to happen."

Self is coaching in his fifth Elite Eight, still seeking to take the next step. He said he has learned a few things in terms of preparation.

"Fresh minds and fresh legs are more important than anything else going on," Self said. "This might sound silly, but whether or not we get down at 3:30 (a.m.) or 1:30 or 2 is important.

"I think the biggest thing I've learned is you really have to manage Saturday and their sleep as well as you can, make sure we're as fresh as we can be on Sunday. I've worked guys too hard on the off day in the past."

The regional final tips off at 5:05 p.m. ET Sunday.


Villanova's leading scorer Scottie Reynolds was held to just 11 points by a relentless Jayhawks defense. That's five points fewer than Reynolds' season average and 12 fewer than his tournament average heading into the game.

"(Russell) Robinson, Sherron (Collins) and Mario (Chalmers), the whole team actually did a really good job," Reynolds said. "They were double-teaming, trying to get the ball out of my hands. A lot of times if I were to try and drive, they were bringing a big guard to get the ball out of my hands. Sometimes, I was just forcing the issue too much."


Wisconsin lost guard Trevon Hughes to a right foot injury with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

It was a blow to the Badgers considering Hughes was coming off a career-best 25-point effort in a second-round win over Kansas State.

Hughes returned briefly in the second half, but was not effective. He was held scoreless for the game.

"I really wish Trevon would have been healthy," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "It would have been a better game."


• The 15-point loss to Kansas was the worst for Villanova in NCAA play since the Wildcats fell to Oklahoma 78-59 in 1988, a span of 20 games.

• The Wildcats were held to a season-low 22 points in the first half.

• The Jayhawks are making their 19th trip to a regional final.

• With a win over Davidson, Kansas would have 35 victories on the season, matching the school's best season marks. The 1986 and 1998 teams also won 35 games.

• The Big 12 is the only conference with two teams left in the NCAA field. Texas joins Kansas. This is the first time the Big 12 has had two schools in the Elite Eight since 2004.

• The Big Ten meanwhile, is shut out of the Elite Eight after Wisconsin and Michigan State went sour in the Sweet 16. The Badgers and Spartans lost by a combined 35 points Friday night.

• Davidson is the ninth No. 10 seed to reach a regional final. No 10th-seeded team has made the Final Four.

• Stephen Curry's 34.3 points per game is the highest average for a single tournament (over a minimum of three games) since Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble averaged 35.8 in four games of the 1990 tourney.

• Curry had six three-pointers in the win over Wisconsin, giving him 158 for the season and tying the NCAA single-season mark set by Butler's Darrin Fitzgerald in 1987.

• Wisconsin shot just 23.8 percent in the second half against Davidson.

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