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Bestowing national title to Kansas ‘would be great,’ Bill Self says
6:26 PM ET
  • Myron MedcalfESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covers college basketball
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
    • Graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato

If the NCAA decides to use the final polls to identify a national champion after canceling the NCAA tournament amid coronavirus concerns, Bill Self will gladly accept the trophy.

The head coach at Kansas, the projected No. 1 overall seed had the 68-team field been announced, said he understands that using the polls — Kansas is No. 1 in the final USA Today Coaches’ Poll — to decide a champion wouldn’t be the typical way to do it but also said he’d be “in favor” of an alternate process in a unique season.

“I would think, from our standpoint, that would be great,” Self said on a Monday teleconference. “But even if that occurred, and I don’t think it would, there’d be a huge asterisk on our side and I’d be the first one to admit it. This would be the year I’d be all in favor because there’s a great chance we’d be No. 1 in the country in most everything when all the rankings are turned in.”

Polls were used to select college football champions before the implementation of the BCS system in the late 1990s.

Kansas ended this season as the No. 1 team in the country in both the polls and the reputable analytics sites such as KenPom.com. The Big 12 champions were 28-3.

Entering the season, the program and Self were hit with an NCAA notice of allegations stemming from the FBI’s investigation of college basketball that could result in a show-cause penalty for the longtime Kansas coach and penalties for the team. Self praised his team for succeeding through the drama.

“For this team to bring so much positive attention in a year where we definitely needed it and operate under pressure and operate under expectations, this team deserves more credit than any team I’ve ever coached,” Self said.

He said he has met with school officials about finding a way to “memorialize” the 2019-20 Jayhawks.

“Nobody had a better season than we did,” Self said.

If Selection Sunday had happened, Self said he would have picked the regional in Houston over Indianapolis, a right granted to the top overall seed, because the Friday-Sunday games would have given his team an extra day to prepare. Udoka Azubuike, a Wooden Award candidate, was nursing an ankle injury late in the season.

Per ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, if the bracket had been announced, the top four seeds might have looked like this, assuming Baylor occupied the third top seed over Dayton: Kansas (Houston), Baylor (Indianapolis), Gonzaga (Los Angeles) and Dayton (New York City). But some Dayton fans, upon hearing Self’s choice, envisioned a path that might have taken the Flyers through nearby Indianapolis.

We’ll never know what would have happened because the NCAA tournament was canceled, which Self said was the right decision.

“The only decision that could have been made was made,” Self said.

He said a multitude of challenges remain in the coming weeks. He’s in favor of additional eligibility for athletes but isn’t sure if it’s practical for every program. He said promises made to incoming freshmen could complicate the idea. He also said he’s not sure about recruiting but doesn’t expect the coronavirus concerns to adversely affect KU’s recruiting pool.

“I just think there will be a lot of things you’ll have to talk about,” he said. “I just don’t think there will be a slam-dunk answer.”

Going forward, however, Self is like most of America right now, trying to stay healthy and searching for ways to occupy his time.

“I’ve been told that I’m going to clean out the garage,” he said. “That should take a few days.”

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