The Wildcats made 18 of 40 3s, repeatedly getting open looks against a Jayhawks defense that couldn't close out in time to seriously contest many of those open looks in Villanova's 95-79 win in Saturday's national semifinals.
Villanova's 3-point shooting, a Final Four record 18 makes on 40 attempts, was the reason Kansas could never come within single figures, but not the only reason the Big East squad advanced to a Monday night title game vs. MI.
In their season-ending loss, the Jayhawks (31-8) finished 7 for 21 on 3-pointers, connecting on as many in 40 minutes as the Wildcats hit in the first 10.
"That happens sometimes when you're a good-shooting team and when you start that way", Villanova coach Jay Wright said.
View a gallery of images from the Kansas Jayhawks' semifinal game against the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. In his Kansas finale, Mykhailiuk didn't make a field goal until the 11:46 mark of the second half. Self noted afterward that 7-foot sophomore Udoka Azubuike and 6-9 freshman Silvio De Sousa rarely have to cover all the way to the 3-point arc.
Villanova junior forward Mikal Bridges said his team took away open shooters, including Mykhailiuk, by moving as a unit and playing tough.
"They'll be hard for anyone to deal with", Self said, "if they shoot the ball like that".
Kansas basketball fans watched the Jayhawks play in the Final Four from various locations throughout Lawrence.
As national player of the year Jalen Brunson (18 points, six assists) said, if the Wildcats weren't making so many shots they would have shifted into grinder mode, and in his opinion, would, "maybe win by one or two possessions".
"We didn't do what we were really supposed to do with the aggressiveness we should've because we were anxious about the result because they had already picked on us some".
Far more sound in their help defense than past KU foes, the Wildcats even had an answer for the staples of the Jayhawks' offense, ball screens and drive-and-kicks.
The Wildcats (35-4) turned a Final Four showdown with fellow No. 1 seed Kansas into a laugher, dropping in 3-pointers like they were playing pop-a-shot in the 95-79 rout. He's kind of their engine that gets them going, gets everyone involved. He's the pace-setter for a team that finished in the top 20 in 3-point percentage nationally this season, and for a team that attempted more 3-pointers than any team in the country - by a wide margin. Only one of those passes led to a 3, with 3:38 left in the second half and the game all but decided. They're a great team. "They did everything today". "That's as good a team as we've played against that I can remember". Seven 'Nova players made 3s.
"We were doing a great job of making it hard for them", sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo said.
"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.
Next up is MI, which will try to guard the perimeter Monday night when Villanova (35-5) goes for its second title in three seasons.
"If you look at the numbers, we held them to 45 percent shooting", Wright said. They won their first five tournament games by an average of 17.6 points per game. "We were pleased defensively, especially having a lead".
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And it's just the counter to what happens in many power conferences is we have such young teams and then they have a transfer. But, Custer said: "We don't think of ourselves as that much of a Cinderella because we have had such a good year this year".