Despite his reluctance to schedule Wichita State, Kansas coach Bill Self said Saturday that he enjoys the company of Shockers coach Gregg Marshall on the rare occasions they get together.
“We’re not exchanging Christmas cards or dinner invitations, but it’s not because I wouldn’t want to, it’s just because he’s busy, and I’m busy and that kind of stuff,” Self said during news conferences at the CenturyLink Center before the teams play at 4:15 p.m. Sunday for a spot in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
“I do respect the job they have done a lot, I like their staff, and certainly I think it’s great to have quality programs in our state, which we do.”
Both coaches, speaking separately about 45 minutes apart, used the word “cordial” to describe their relationship. “He’s a great guy,” Marshall said, “have a lot of respect for him.”
There isn’t much communication between each other, both said, but they don’t avoid each other when they are at the same event, like the Final Four.
Marshall recalled one such get-together Friday, saying he mentioned in passing to Self during a coaches’ function in Wichita that the Shockers would love to play KU at Intrust Bank Arena. Marshall added that he’s never called KU about setting up a nonconference series but that “they know we want to play.”
“He’s got to do what’s best for his program, he’s said it many times. That’s what we’re trying to do and if it ever works out, it works out.” Marshall said. “We want to play the best teams that will play us because it helps us get into a position where if we do well, we get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“That’s not their issue, they don’t need that. So I understand.”