How was the match between Kansas and Miami?
The opponent in 2022 is the same as it was then: Kansas will face Villanova at 18:09. Kansas struggled in the Elite Eight under Self, leading 3-5 to win on Sunday. And with Cameron McGasty scoring 14 points in the first half, it looked like the Jayhawks were in for another tough regional final.
What did the scoreboard say?
Kansas led 27-26 before Miami (26-10) finished the first half 9-2, going 35-29 at halftime. Kansas took little time to erase the lead in the second half. Christian Brown’s three, Kansas’ first of the game, broke 40 with 15:27 left.
About five minutes later, Ohai Agbaji’s trio extended the double-digit lead to 12. Miami never reduced that lead to single digits again.
Five Jayhawks have scored at least nine points, led by Agbaji, who came out of a recent slump with 18-of-8-of-12 points and added five rebounds, four assists and four steals. McGasty finished with 18 points, leading the Hurricanes. Here are some takeaways from Kansas’ victory in Sunday’s Midwest Regional Finals. How has Kansas achieved the most significant edge in the Elite Eight game since 1992*?
“In the second half, we were stuck on the defensive,” Self said in a post-game interview with CBS. The Jayhawks put on a virtuoso defensive effort in the first half of the Sweet 16, keeping Providence at 17 points, the lowest the Friars have ever recorded in tournament play. And somehow, they were even better against Miami in the second half when Kansas kept Miami just 15 points in the second half and .417 possession.
It’s a ride for the Jayhawks this year; after the ESPN Events Invitational, Self blew his team’s defence and said his players had no killing instinct on that side. But thanks to that killer instinct and the fact that Kansas made over 59% of his shots in the second half, he won the second half by 47-15. “Of course, this is a special year for my family and me as my father passed away,” Self said.
“That was his motto: ‘Don’t worry about the mules, load the wagon.’ And the boys didn’t care what distracted them from what happened in the first half; they just played in the second half.”
Cincinnati beat Memphis State by 31 points, 88–57, and Indiana scored 27 points over UCLA, 106–79. Kansas’ first-team All-American selection has changed since returning from COVID-19, averaging 16.4 points per game and just 40.1% shooting from the ground and 29.4% from the three-point arc. In three games in the NCAA Tournament, he was even worse, averaging 10.3 points per game and shooting 33.3% from the ground and 15.4% from three. By comparison, Agbaji was averaging 20.9 points per game before his illness. 51.5% from the floor and 46.4% from 3rds. This is what made his performance against Miami important if Kansas is to establish itself as a legitimate contender for the national championship.
Agbaci scored 18 points on an effective 8-of-12 and made both of his 3-point attempts, which affected the game in other areas. Kansas got a massive boost from the return of Remy Martin, who strangled the Jayhawks in the last two games of the Big 12 tournament and then had Kansas score in each of the first three games of the NCAA tournament. But when Martin scored nine points in 24 minutes on Sunday, the Jayhawks could win some crucial points from Agbaji.
The Hurricanes had a fantastic three-and-a-half game in that NCAA Tournament, defeating No. 1. Thus, Miami put McGasty’s hot hand to a six-point lead over the Jayhawks at halftime. But things went badly in the second half. Kansas stopped the basket, and Sam Waardenburg quickly got into foul trouble (later out on a foul), leaving the Hurricanes no excellent opportunity to prevent Kansas from racing on edge without their best 3-pointer sniper. Boot.
The bad news is that at least two of Miami’s current architects, McGasty and Charlie Moore, are ineligible. Despite being an adult now, Waardenburg could technically have his COVID-19 season next year and decide to come back. But, at least for now, it seems likely that all three might be out the door.
But Miami manager Jim Larranaga may not face a complete rebuild. Isaiah Wong showed stellar potential, and freshman quarterback Bensley Joseph had his moments. Throw in another year for the likes of Jordan Miller and Anthony Walker, and Larranaga will have a solid foundation before he hits the transfer portal or arrives No. 1 on the player list.