Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bill Self Says He's Still Unsure What to Expect from KU on the Road

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bill Self Says He's Still Unsure What to Expect from KU on the Road

Article excerpt

AMES, Iowa -- There have been years in the past when Bill Self felt a bit of invincibility with his teams.

The way he saw it, if his team played well on the road, it was going to win. And the chances were about 4 out of 5 that his team was going to play well.

"I don't have that feeling with this team," Self said. "I don't know yet."

The coach's brutal honesty can be traced to a few factors.

For one, the Big 12 competition is tougher this year than any other. According to advanced numbers compiled by Ken Pomeroy, the league is trending to be the second-best conference in the last 15 seasons of college basketball.

"It sucks for us," Self said of the Big 12's strength, "but it's great for our league."

Of course, Self's own team has a bit to do with his diminished confidence, as the third-ranked Jayhawks prepare to play at No. 19 Iowa State on Monday night.

It seems to Self that other teams have more control over whether KU plays well. If opponents guard a certain way, for example, the Jayhawks' offensive rhythm seems to be thrown off easily.

"We need ball movement," Self said. "We need a lot of things to go right for the team to play together in order to look good, and I don't think we always do that."

Though Self might not know what to expect from his team in Monday's game, he does know what's coming with the atmosphere. Hilton Coliseum is annually one of the toughest road games of the season, as KU has split its last four meetings there, including an 86-81 loss last season.

ISU has won 31 of its last 33 games at home, including 17 of its last 19 in Big 12 play.

"They definitely have an angry crowd," KU forward Jamari Traylor said. "They are a loud group."

Though KU enters as a slight underdog, it still will be trying to avoid setting recent history. The Jayhawks have not dropped three straight road games in league play since the 2004-05 season, and a loss Monday would mean consecutive setbacks at West Virginia, Oklahoma State and ISU. …

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