Kansas coach Self to miss Big 12 tourney game with illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self will miss the third-ranked Jayhawks’ quarterfinal game against West Virginia in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday with what the school called an undisclosed illness.

Kansas officials announced the news about five hours before tipoff between the top-seeded Jayhawks and eighth-seeded Mountaineers. Assistant Norm Roberts will serve as the acting coach for the Jayhawks, a role he filled earlier in the season when Self served a school-imposed four-game suspension and won each of the games.

The Jayhawks are the defending Big 12 Tournament champions and are trying to secure a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament, where they will attempt to defend the national championship they won last April.

“Self is doing well and receiving great care at the University of Kansas Health System,” the school said Thursday in a statement. It did not say whether Self would be back should the Jayhawks advance to the semifinals.

The 60-year-old Hall of Fame coach led Kansas to the regular-season championship in the toughest conference in the nation this season, despite losing several key players from the team that beat North Carolina the national title.

He was present Wednesday for a shoot-around at T-Mobile Center and appeared to be in normal condition. He met with reporters for about 20 minutes outside the locker room and said his team was ready for another March run.

“We’ve talked about we’re going to Kansas City to try to put ourselves in position to win this thing, but knowing we better take one game at a time,” Self said. “I’ve put the emphasis on, ‘Let’s go play our best.’ What the (Big 12) tournament does, it can validate what your regular season’s been. And this is an opportunity to validate it.”

Self is 581-130 during his two decades with Kansas, and is 788-235 in his 30 seasons as a head coach, including stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois. He’s led the Jayhawks to a pair of national championships, beating Memphis for the title in 2008, and the regular-season Big 12 title was his 17th in 20 seasons in Lawrence.

With the retirement of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on Wednesday, Self climbed up the list of the winningest active coaches in men’s college basketball behind Bob Huggins, John Calipari and Rick Pitino.

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