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Eastern Washington University Basketball
Sports >  EWU basketball

Kansas coach Bill Self thinks Eastern Washington will be ‘a tough team to guard’

UPDATED: Wed., March 17, 2021

Kansas head coach Bill Self encourages one of his players during overtime of a game against Texas on Feb. 23 in Austin, Texas.  (Associated Press)
Kansas head coach Bill Self encourages one of his players during overtime of a game against Texas on Feb. 23 in Austin, Texas. (Associated Press)

The good news for Eastern Washington? Kansas coach Bill Self thinks quite highly of the Eagles.

The bad news? One of the Jayhawks’ two primary big men will be suited up on Saturday after clearing coronavirus protocols.

The Hall of Fame coach confirmed Wednesday that 6-foot-10 forward David McCormack (13.4 points, 6,1 rebounds) will be back in time for the third-seeded Jayhawks (20-8) to face the No. 14 seed Eagles (16-7) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Self also confirmed, as was reported earlier the week, that 6-8 freshman forward Jalen Wilson (12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds) won’t return to the team until Monday, if Kansas can avoid a major upset from the Cheney school.

Here’s what Self and Kansas guard Christian Braun told the media about EWU in Wednesday’s news conference.

Self: “They can all shoot and play around a true big (Tanner Groves). I think it’s pretty impressive. I say this every year, I don’t think we got favors on this (matchup). There’s a guy who doesn’t start on their team (Jacob Davison) who was the unanimous preseason (Big Sky) player of the year, and he’s good enough to not only make nine 3-pointers, but I think he took 18 against Southern Utah, which had the best record (in the Big Sky, a half-game ahead of EWU). And their big guy (Groves) was the player of the year this year. They have five players averaging double figures and a sixth averaging 8.5 (points). They can score the ball, all stretch and shoot it. They’re a tough team to guard, based on the games we’ve watched. What we’ll have to do well is defend the arc, and that’s hard to do when their post guy is their best scorer. But we’ll have to figure that out.”

Braun: “We’ve been talking a little bit about their players. They have a big guy (Groves) who is really talented, the player of the year in their conference. They have a lot of guys that can shoot the ball. (Our players) haven’t watched film yet, but we will soon. We know a little bit about their personnel.”

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