March Madness 365 podcast: Kansas coach Bill Self hopes to hear on eligibility status, Missouri's Cuonzo Martin talks Michael Porter Jr. rehab
After dropping back-to-back games against Washington and Arizona State earlier in the month, No 14 Kansas looks to be back on track with consecutive wins against Nebraska and Omaha. But here’s the catch, the Jayhawks have yet to play their best basketball and are hopeful they’ll add a pair of talented front court players to their last in the coming weeks.
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“Silvio will take a few weeks for sure,” Self said on the March Madness 365 podcast. “I’m not concerned about where we’ll be January 1, but rather February 1. We won’t change overnight from a productive standpoint standpoint or looking standpoint. But it will buy us some minutes until we get comfortable.”
Self added: “We would go from a real thin team to a real deep team as long as well get them. Silvio still has to be eligible but it’s looking good. Billy still has to be allowed to play but I’m optimistic. Where we are now and where we could be in a month from now is night and day.”
In addition to talking about his roster, Self also spoke about how talented the Big 12 looks this year and how if the Jayhawks want to win their 14th consecutive regular season championship, this might be the best the Big 12 has looked top to bottom during that stretch. Self touted Oklahoma guard Trae Young as one of the best players in the country and even went as far as putting him the discussion with the likes of Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield and Frank Mason III.
Katz also spoke with Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin to talk about the Tigers’ 9-2 start to the season, how freshman Michael Porter Jr. is recovering from his spinal surgery and Mizzou’s upcoming matchup against Illinois.
“Right now, he’s starting rehab,” Martin said of Porter Jr. “He’s walking around and he looks good. No playing, nothing with the team, no 1-on-1, none of that. He may be getting some shots up on his own, but nothing as far as activities are concerned.”
The Tigers close out their non-conference schedule against the Fighting Illini in St. Louis this Saturday in a game Martin described as “there’s certain games in sports that you mark on your calendar, and this is one of them.”
Katz finished the podcast with a conversation with Xavier senior Trevon Blueiett who leads the 11-1 No. 9 Musketeers in scoring at 20.4 points per game. The 6-foot-6 guard discussed their success through the first part of the season — with the exception of two halves — what it’s like playing for Chris Mack at Xavier and how Musketeers can make it further than last year’s Elite 8 squad.
“We have like six guys returning from that Elite 8 team, Bluiett said. “Just to have that experience to know what it’s like going into the next year, that’s always an advantage. And then, plus the group of freshmen that we have, we feel like they’ve exceeded our expectations that we have, what we expected from them in their role. Both Naji Marshall and Elias (Harden) and Paul (Scruggs), they bring things to the table.”
The March Madness 365 podcast drops Friday mornings.