Of course, none of that will mean a thing Monday night in the Alamodome, where Villanova dispelled the common theory teams just don't shoot well in such a setting, going a gaudy 18-for-25, 72 percent on two-point attempts, to go with their blistering 18-for-40, 45 percent from long distance.
Freshman Omari Spellman continued to shine as well. They combined to make 6 of 13 3-pointers themselves, but didn't get much help. Villanova tied that record in the first half and finished with 18. We would have had to play just about ideal. It wasn't almost enough against the hot-shooting Wildcats, who tied their program's single-season wins record and have a chance to win their third NCAA championship. "To get this far, all the teams that are here, you have a laser focus, you have an ability to prepare for different opponents". But Bill Self's team didn't have an answer for Villanova defensively, and offensively Kansas was unable to keep up with the nation's most efficient offense. The rest of the leadership trust includes juniors Mikal Bridges, Eric Booth and Eric Paschall, and scrappy sophomore Donte DiVincenzo. "It was hard to guard for us", Graham said. Ultimately, the Wolverines' defense kept them in the game as they held Loyola-Chicago to just one made 3-pointer.
Before it dominated Kansas in the semifinal, Villanova experienced a tournament run that required varying styles of play.
Villanova remains scorching hot from the three-point line in the second half.
Dynamic senior guard Devonte Graham scored 23 points in his final game for Kansas (31-18), which dropped to 9-6 in the national semifinals. Wagner leads the Wolverines with 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, but this is a very balance team that was able to overcome the Ramblers despite getting bad shooting games from Zavier Simpson (0-6, 0pts) and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (2-11, 7pts).
"When we got spread out and our game plan went to crap on how we were going to guard certain actions, then we got caught in between", Self said.
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The 6-foot-11 center and former South Florida transfer averaged 10.0 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Gators. I also want to thank Spartan Nation for welcoming me with open arms into their community and school.
The three-pointer has been Villanova's signature ever since Jay Wright went to a smaller lineup out of necessity (an injury) in a close 2005 NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina. "They did a great job of just staying with me, knowing that I was struggling and I didn't really think about it".
Since the start of the Big Dance, Simpson's offensive numbers have been futile at best, as he has scored 29 points in five games.
Brunson has averaged 19.1 points and 4.8 assists this season and is shooting 52.7 percent.
There have been seasons when freshmen were the catalysts to championship runs: Pervis Ellison and Louisville in 1986, Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony in 2003, Anthony Davis and his fellow future National Basketball Association friends at Kentucky in 2012. But I'm going to bet the under here because the teams will be a bit exhausted after just one day of rest and the Wolverines' defense is underrated.
The third-seeded Wolverines (33-7) will take a 14-game winning streak into their first national championship game appearance since 2013, and second under coach Jon Beilein. The Wildcats shot 55 percent for the game.
Kansas is in its 15th Final Four and first since 2012, when the Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the final.