Kansas transitions from a loss at No. 18 West Virginia to take on No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday. Kansas coach Bill Self addressed the media ahead of the marquee Big 12/SEC challenge game.
Kansas looks to avoid distractions as rape investigation continues
After an alleged rape in McCarthy Hall was reported in the media earlier this week, Self addressed the media about the investigation for the first time on Thursday afternoon. Five men's basketball players were named as witnesses in the police report.
Five men's basketball players were among those listed as witnesses in the investigation of an alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in McCarthy Hall just after the end of finals week. According to PSO, being identified as a witness means that they supplied information and could have been present before, during or after the incident.
He described the investigation as it relates to the team as a "major distraction." Self said no disciplinary action has been taken by the coaching staff because there is no information yet to warrant it.
When asked whether the distraction is affecting the team, senior center Landen Lucas said it isn't a problem.
Kansas coach Bill Self said that no players have been placed under suspension, and he has no information that would warrant a suspension. While Self said it's a distraction for the team, it's also being taken very seriously by the coach.
"I don't think so, no," Lucas said. "We're very close as a team, and if anything it brought us closer together we know that we gotta be close going into a tough environment [against Kentucky]. We're looking at everything to just bring us together and just move on and get focused on Kentucky."
Moving on to the Jayhawks' matchup against Kentucky this weekend, Self said the investigation has caused plenty of frustration for some players.
"Certainly I'm a little bit uncertain of how we'll respond, to be quite candid," Self said. "I know that there are some people that aren't real happy right now that will, I'm sure, use the basketball court as a way to kind of get away from the distraction."
Self, Lucas look ahead to difficult Kentucky matchup
The loss in West Virginia was certainly Kansas' toughest matchup since the beginning of the season. It's about to get a lot tougher, too. Kansas will take on No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday, then will turn around and face No. 5 Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse the following Wednesday.
"We welcome it, it's fun for us," Lucas said. "This quick turnaround, having to get ready for different teams in a short amount of time, is good in practice for us once we come to the tournament."
Lucas is set to guard standout Kentucky big man Bam Adebayo this weekend. He said he looked forward to guarding Adebayo, who's drawn comparison to Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard.
Self said he was looking forward to seeing the players get back to work on the court, especially after the investigation's distraction.
"Well, I think going into this stretch, I thought we were very excited going in," Self said. "We've had obviously some things that we're dealing with since the West Virginia game that tempers probably the excitement as we see it on a Wednesday or a Thursday. But once the guys get out there and certainly start working, and game day will be there, and we'll feel the energy and enthusiasm. Our guys will be very excited to play."
Kansas vs. Kentucky: two of the most winningest programs in college basketball history face off in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Kentucky has the home court advantage and two outstanding freshman, while Kansas has experienced upperclassmen and strong outside shooters. Who will win?
Last season, Kansas claimed a 90-84 win over then-No. 20 Kentucky at Allen Fieldhouse. As the matchup shifts to Lexington, Kentucky, both teams are a lot more even.
Both teams are also coming off losses, too. The Wildcats lost Tuesday against unranked Tennessee, the same night Kansas fell to No. 18 West Virginia.
"I think it might even be bigger this year just because of the records and rankings of the two teams," Lucas said. "We're both in the same kind of situations, coming off a loss and wanting to rebound."
— Edited by Casey Brown