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Tuesday, April 15
Updated: April 17, 10:12 PM ET
Self also torn between two schools

By Andy Katz

With his roots recently planted in Champaign, Bill Self is torn over whether to even entertain the thought of leaving Illinois for Kansas.

The Jayhawks, who lost longtime coach Roy Williams to North Carolina on Monday night, have not offered Self the job, but on Wednesday received permission from Illinois to begin talks with Self.

Self is aware that he is Kansas' top choice to replace Williams. Illinois in December rewarded him with a contract extension that will pay him $5 million if he remains Illini coach all five years.

"We're on the cusp of doing something great here," Self told The Associated Press before the team's annual postseason banquet Tuesday night. "There is a ton of incentive to stay," Self said. "My family's happy, I'm happy and we're going to be good (next year)."

The Illini will be good enough to rank among the top 20 to start next season. Illinois has one of the richest in-state recruiting pools and some recruiting analysts are saying there could be as many as 16 Division I high school sophomore prospects in the state.

Self left Wednesday for a family vacation in Florida, which is interesting because the last time he went to Florida on a vacation -- three years ago in May -- the Illinois job opened. That's when Self left Tulsa to succeed Lon Kruger in Champaign.

Self has strong Big 12 ties from his time spent working as an assistant under Larry Brown at Kansas and tenure as a player and assistant coach at Oklahoma State. Self has always considered the Kansas job a "dream position." Yet he has been successful in the Big Ten, taking Illinois to Elite Eight, Sweet 16 and second-round appearances.

Kansas officials say they plan to request permission soon to speak to Self but won't restrict their search to him alone. Sources have confirmed that Kansas has been selective in forming its pool of candidates. Aside from Self, the Jayhawks will try to pursue Marquette's Tom Crean, Gonzaga's Mark Few, and Notre Dame's Mike Brey.

Wichita State's Mark Turgeon, who played for Williams in the mid-1980s, removed his name from consideration Thursday night.

Sources close to Self said he expects to decide within days whether he would like to be included in Kansas' search. Kansas officials told ESPN.com that they want this process wrapped up in a matter of days, not weeks.

Williams coached the Jayhawks for 15 seasons, won nine conference championships, made the NCAA tournament 14 straight years, reached the Final Four four times and the national championship game twice.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

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