By ERIC OLSON
AP Sports Writer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self missed the defending national champion's first-round NCAA Tournament game against Howard, a 96-68 victory by the Jayhawks on Thursday.
Assistant coach Norm Roberts served as acting head coach with Self continuing to recover from a heart procedure performed last week. The school announced about three hours before tipoff that Self would skip the game.
“He’s doing good. It’s all day-to-day on how he feels, the doctors' decisions,” Roberts said after the game “He’s been able to spend time with the guys and practice and that type of stuff.”
Players found out in the morning that Self would stay away from the arena.
“Hopefully we get back and hear from him first thing — what he liked out there and what he didn’t like," freshman Gradey Dick said.
Self traveled to Des Moines with the Jayhawks and led the team's practice on Wednesday. He did not attend the team's media availability. Roberts said Self had returned to the hotel to rest.
Self’s status for the second-round game Saturday was not yet known.
“I’m doing better," Self said in a pregame interview on the team's radio network. "I’m feeling stronger and everything. I don’t think I’m at the point where I could be very good for our team if I was out there.”
Self added that he has been watching as much video as he usually does to prepare for games and that Roberts and the rest of the staff have been doing their jobs well.
Self went to the emergency room the night of March 8, shortly after watching the Jayhawks hold a final shootaround ahead of their Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal. He was complaining of chest tightness and concerns with his balance.
Dr. Mark Wiley, the chief of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Kansas Health System, said the 60-year-old Self underwent a standard heart catheterization and had two stents placed to help treat the blocked arteries.
Roberts coached the Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament. He also served as acting coach earlier in the season, while Self was serving a school-imposed four-game suspension.