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Bill Self's "Back To The Future" Week
January 25, 2013
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

Bill Self's coaching history is meeting itself coming and going this week.

Tuesday night in Manhattan, Self's Kansas team defeated Kansas State, 59-55. The Wildcats are in their first season under coach Bruce Weber, the man who followed Self at Illinois. Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas faces Oklahoma. The Sooners are coached by Lon Kruger ... the coach that Self replaced in Champaign.

"He left us some guys," Self said of Kruger. "We were slow, but we were big and we were tough. He left us some guys, and it was a perfectly built Big Ten-type team. I never once ever said a negative word about inheriting that situation at all."

Kruger is in his second season at Oklahoma. The Sooners are 13-4 overall and in a three-way tie for second in the Big 12 with a 4-1 record. Oklahoma appears on pace to reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. If that happens, Kruger will become the first coach to take five different teams to the Big Dance. Kruger has reached the bracket with teams at Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV.

"I followed him at Illinois, so I know firsthand talking to those guys, he has a great way with people," Self said of Kruger. "He's the same all the time, so consistency should not be shocking with his programs, that he's been able to accomplish that.

"That's who he is. He's not an emotional rollercoaster like I can be sometimes. He's pretty low-key and stable."

Huggins Not Happy
West Virginia balanced its overall record at 9-9 with Wednesday's 71-50 victory over visiting TCU. The Mountaineers are 2-3 in Big 12 play. Despite the double-digit victory, WVU coach Bob Huggins still sees flaws.

The Mountaineers shot 43.1 percent from the field and were 16-of-31 at the free throw line (51.6 percent). In the second half, West Virginia's defensive lapses allowed the visitors to close within 11 points with 8:05 remaining.

"We get it at the rim and don't finish," said Huggins, whose team plays at Oklahoma State Saturday. "It's not good. That part is not good. And we're 16 of 31 from the foul line. It's inexcusable.

"Can we keep (Oklahoma State) from doing what they want to do? We can. But can we do it for 40 minutes? That's the question. That is what it's going to take. We didn't do it tonight.

"I'm fed up with guys not knowing what they're supposed to do. I'm fed up with guys standing and staring at the ball and their guy relieving pressure. You get four guys out there pressuring like crazy and doing what they're supposed to do and one guy standing flat footed and his guy gets the ball and scores and all those other guys are looking around like, why are we doing this?

"It's got to be a team thing. The pressure has got to come from all five guys and if it's not and it's the way it has been - it's not any good."

Cowboys' Williams Making Progress
Oklahoma State sophomore Brian Williams, a 6-5 swingman who is considered the team's best defender, is close to returning to action.

Williams broke his left wrist before the season started and it was originally thought he'd be out for the season. However, his recovery is ahead of schedule.

"They say it's healing great, I've just got to get back comfortable with it," Williams told the Oklahoman. "I'm really excited. I see us keep losing these games, the ones we lost by like six to eight points. I feel like I can come up with six to eight points, get a few rebounds, a few stops."

Wearing a brace, Williams returned to practice this week. Cowboys coach Travis Ford is cautious concerning when Williams will play again but Williams hopes it will be next week.

Texas Tech plays Texas in Austin Saturday. The Red Raiders have lost 16 consecutive games in the Frank Erwin Center. Texas Tech ended a four-game losing streak against Iowa State Wednesday. The Raiders' first five games in Big 12 play came against RPI Top 50 teams - Baylor (45), Kansas (3), Oklahoma (21), Oklahoma State (38) and Iowa State (37).

Oklahoma hasn't won at Kansas since 1993 when Billy Tubbs was the Sooners' coach.

The last time TCU opened a conference season 0-6 it was in C-USA in 2002. Two years ago the Frogs lost 13 consecutive Mountain West games to conclude the regular season.

Oklahoma has started 4-1 in Big 12 play seven times. Each of the previous six seasons, the Sooners reached the NCAA Tournament.

Seth Davis of and CBS Sports makes game predictions during the season and his record thus far is 68-32. For what it's worth, Davis picks Iowa State to beat Kansas State, 70-67, and Kansas to beat Oklahoma, 68-60.

Buzzer Beaters
Kansas coach Bill Self on Iowa State's loss at Texas Tech:
"Life on the road in our league. I think so many times we get hung up on maybe not looking great and winning on the road, and people think that's a big deal. Really, any win on the road is a big deal. You look across America last night, and what happened at different venues, it was a pretty shocking night."

TCU coach Trent Johnson on his team's loss at West Virginia:
"It got sloppy because we didn't do the things we talked about doing going into the game. "It sounds like a broken record, but that's mental toughness. Mental toughness is doing what you're supposed to do all the time. Not part of the day, all the time."

Oklahoma freshman Buddy Hield on getting the chance to play Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday:
"This place is at the top of my list. Everyone wants to play in front of a big crowd. There's an energy that you can feed off of. Everyone wants to be in games like that."

Kansas State forward Shane Southwell on not securing a defensive rebound that Kansas claimed and turned into a key 3-pointer in the Jayhawks' 59-55 victory in Manhattan Tuesday night:
"I know I keep saying this, but it is still killing me that I let Kevin Young get that rebound and then Ben McLemore hit that three ... I'm still messed up on that one play, but I'm over it in a sense that I am learning from what we did wrong."

Iowa State's Melvin Ejim on Saturday's visit from Kansas State and the Cyclones' need to bounce back from Wednesday's loss at Texas Tech:
"Every team is going to have some losses. We've just got to put it behind us, focus on the games ahead. Just continue to win. We can't let this start a downward trend of losing. We've just got to turn around and keep our heads up and try to win our next couple games."


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