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Mark Humphrey, Associated Press
Kansas head coach Bill Self speaks during a news conference for the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball game Sunday, April 1, 2012, in New Orleans. Kansas plays Kentucky in the championship game Monday night.

NEW ORLEANS — Pulling tactical and motivational strings, Kansas coach Bill Self has turned what was supposed to a rebuilding year into one to remember.

It's no surprise with the success he's had in nine years with the Jayhawks.

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Self led Kansas to a national championship in 2008 with a team full of talent and may have done an even better job this season.

Heading into the season without many expectations, the Jayhawks got better as the season went along and pulled out some close wins in the NCAA tournament. The latest, 64-62 over Ohio State in the national semifinals, put Kansas in the NCAA championship game Monday night against Kentucky.

While the Jayhawks are considered big underdogs, having Self in front of the bench should give them a fighting chance.