No. 1 in the Midwest regional final on Sunday. 1 Kansas to clear the half-time deficit, eventually using No. 10 Miami 76-50 as a strong second half, this year’s number. Without 1 seat there will be no final four. The Jay Hawks (32-6) go into their fourth final four under coach Bill Shelf, and their first match since 2018. The opponent was in 2022, facing Kansas Villanova at 6:09 p.m. New Orleans.
The Kansas Elite Eight struggled under self and went 3-5 ahead of Sunday’s victory. With Cameron McCusty scoring 14 points in the first half, it looked like the Jayhawks would have another tough regional final. Kansas led 27-26, with Miami (26-10) finishing 9-2 at half-time, 35-29.
Kansas did not waste much time clearing that margin in the second half. Christian Brown’s 3-pointer – Kansas’ first game – broke the tie by 40 with 15:27 remaining. About five minutes later, Ochoi pushed Akbaji’s own 3-pointer lead to double digits at 12. Miami did not reduce that lead back to single digits.
Five Jayhawks scored at least nine points, led by Akbaji, who came out of his recent slump with 18 points in 8-off-12 shooting, and he added five rebounds, four assists and four thefts. McGusty led the Hurricanes with 18 points.
Here are some hints from Kansas’ victory in Sunday’s Midwest Regional Final.
Dominance of the second half of Kansas
How has Kansas become so successful at Elite Eight Game since 1992 *?
“We were locked in defense in the second half,” Self said in his subsequent game interview with CBS.
And then some. The Jay Hawks put in a brilliant defensive effort in the first half of the Sweet 16, keeping Providence to 17 points, the Friers’ lowest points in a match. They were somehow better against Miami in the second half because Kansas kept Miami with just 15 second-half points and 0.417 points per possession.
It’s some journey of the Jayhawks this year; After the ESPN Events Invitational, Self blasted his team’s defense and in the end said his players had no killer instincts. But thanks to that killer instinct and Kansas doing better than 59% of the shots in its second half, it won the second half 47-15.
“This is a special year for me and my family, my dad is dead,” Self said. “That’s his goal: ‘Don’t worry about the donkeys, load the wagon.’ The guys didn’t really care about the distractions of what happened in the first half, they just played in the second half. “
* 1992 Elite Eight saw two really big explosions. Cincinnati beat Memphis State 88-57 by 31 points, while Indiana beat UCLA 106-79 by 27 points.
Cross the track again
Kansas’ first-team All-America selection has not been the same since returning from Covid-19, averaging 16.4 points per game and just 40.1% off the ground and 29.4% behind the 3-point arc. In three NCAA tournament games, he was even worse, averaging 10.3 points per game and 33.3% off the ground and 15.4% off 3.
With this in mind, before the disease struck, Akbaji averaged 20.9 points per game, 51.5% off the ground and 46.4% off 3.
If Kansas wants to establish itself as a legitimate national championship champion, that is what made his game against Miami so important. Akbaji scored his 18 points in the 8-off-12 shooting, and he made both of his 3-point attempts, while also affecting the game in other areas.
Kansas has had a fantastic boost since the return of Remy Martin, who threw out the Jayhawks in the final two games of the Big 12 tournament, which then led to Kansas scoring in the first three NCAA tournament games. But with Martin scoring nine points in 24 minutes on Sunday, the Jayhawks were able to knock Akbaji back for some big points.
The flow of Miami ends, but there is a foundation
The Hurricanes were fantastic in the three-and-a-half games of this NCAA tournament, no. 2 Auburn and No. 11 beat USC by two points, rather than double-digit victories over Iowa State. He then rode McCusty’s hot arm for a six-point half-lead against the Miami Jayhawks.
But things went wrong in the second half. Kansas put a lid on the basket and Sam Wardenberg soon got into trouble (then fouled out), leaving the Hurricanes without a better way to block Kansas runs on the edge and without their top 3-point shooter.
The bad news is that at least two of Miami’s flow architects, McGusty and Charlie Moore, have finished their qualifications. Despite being a senior, Wardenberg may technically decide to take his Govt-19 season back next year. But, at least this time, it looks like the trio could be out the door.
But Miami coach Jim Lorenka may not face a total overhaul. Isaiah Wong has shown stellar ability and newcomer Bensley Joseph had his moments. Add players like Jordan Miller and Anthony Walker in one more year, and according to 247 Sports Composite Lorenaz has a solid base before coming to the transfer portal or the country’s No. 17 recruit class.
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