Jay Wright, KU’s Self will dress casual for Final Four game

Villanova coach Jay Wright shares a fist bump with the Wildcat cheerleaders after practice Friday at the Superdome in New Orleans.  Villanova will play Kansas Saturday at the Final Four in New Orleans

Villanova coach Jay Wright shares a fist bump with the Wildcat cheerleaders after practice Friday at the Superdome in New Orleans. Villanova will play Kansas Saturday at the Final Four in New Orleans

rsugg@kcstar.com

Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright is 5-3 in head-to-head matchups against fellow Hall of Famer Bill Self of Kansas.

That includes Nova’s 95-79 victory over Self’s Jayhawks in the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio, the Wildcats’ 64-59 victory over KU in the 2016 Elite Eight in Louisville and KU’s 72-57 win over the Wildcats in the 2008 Sweet 16 in Detroit.

It should be noted that all games in the series, which included the teams splitting home-and-home battles in 2018 in Lawrence and 2019 in Philadelphia, have been contested with the coaches wearing the best business suits in their respective wardrobes.

Saturday’s Final Four semifinal at 5:09 pm in the Caesars Superdome will be the first KU-Villanova meeting since the start of the pandemic, when coaches started to dress casually while working the sidelines during games.

“Coaching against Jay,” KU’s Self cracked on Friday at the Superdome, “I’m very happy that there’s no wardrobe, suits, because nobody could compete with him in that regard.”

Wright, 60, is considered one of the best dressed individuals in the profession. But he told reporters Friday that he didn’t pack a suit.

“I actually had to call our sports information director as I was packing to ask, ‘Do I need a suit, like, are there any events I need to go to?’ Wright said. “And he said, ‘I don’t think so.’

“So no, I don’t think I’m going to wear a suit because I don’t have one.”

The 59-year-old Self, of course, isn’t far behind in the stylish suits category.

“But I kind of like the way we’re doing it. I do. I hope it stays casual moving forward,” Self added of attire of coaches. “I think our leagues will probably have a lot to do with what the coaches do, because in our league we voted to unanimously do this (wearing casual gear, the type of gear worn to a practice). And so we are kind of bound by that. I guess it could be year to year. I like the direction it’s moving. And it’s certainly a little bit more comfortable. And you save money on dry cleaning,” Self added, smiling.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star — the current team as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Ill.

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