KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas Jayhawks marched toward another Big 12 Championship Thursday defeating the West Virginia Mountaineers. But they’ll have to compete in the tournament without Head Coach Bill Self.
The University of Kansas Health System says Coach Self arrived in the E.R. late Wednesday night and had a standard medical procedure. Doctors point out he didn’t have a heart attack.
Now the university says he won’t coach the remainder of the tournament, but Self says he hopes to be back with the team in the near future.
The thoughts of the basketball world are with Coach Self.
“Rock Chalk, we were there for Self. Wish you all the luck Self. We love you,” one fan said after the 78-61 victory.
The hospital’s announcement he’s expected to make a full recovery also let fans focus a little more on basketball and all the festivities surrounding this Big 12 Championship.
Thursday of the Big 12 Championship means action from morning until night. Four games, eight teams and all their fans, bands and cheerleaders.
“Let’s go Horn Frogs,” TCU fans chanted during a pep rally before the evening matchup versus Kansas State.
“Oh my gosh it’s unbelievable. It’s got to be the best in the nation. I can barely hear myself think Iowa State is always incredible, KU, K State and then everybody else just fills in. It’s really an awesome environment,” K-State fan Jacob Kuebler said.
For many it’s a March ritual.
“It’s an easy trip, it’s a great environment, Kansas City is a great town and they always host well,” Iowa State fan Dave Cunningham said.
For others like an Oklahoma State parent of a Cowgirl Center the first taste of all Kansas City has to offer, including its barbecue.
“I’ve never been to Kansas City before in my life and it’s exciting . It’s really a great venue I love it here,” Keith De Lapp said.
“It’s a blast always better when you can get the win too,” Jackson Cunningham said.
Iowa State got that win and will face the Jayhawks Friday.
“I would much rather play KU than West Virginia. Not that I think we can beat them, but I just love that rivalry,” ISU fan Jamie Knutson said.
“It’s a great experience to be able to be here and watch the game here and root for the team that you love and support,” KU senior Jenna Kaplan said.
That support also is going out for the coach of the defending National Champion Kansas Jayhawks, who fans say they’ll have even more to play for now as Self recovers from that medical issue in hopes of getting back to the team soon.
“I am very grateful for the overwhelming number of well wishes my family and I have received. I’m excited to get back with my team in the very near future,” Self said in a statement.