Kansas tramples Miami for Final Four spot against Villanova
March 28, 2022
Despite shooting poorly in the first half, the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks could pull away from the Miami Hurricanes for a 76-50 victory and a trip to the Final Four.
It looked like the 10th-seeded Hurricanes might pull off an upset for a while. They held Kansas star Ochai Agbaji to six points in the first half. The Jayhawks missed all of their 3-point attempts before halftime.
Following the intermission, Kansas was on a roll. After Agbaji stole the ball from the Hurricanes, he found Christian Braun, who was able to dunk the ball to tie the game at 40. In the next possession, Braun produced a three-pointer for the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks, who won the Big 12 tournament title, showed tremendous resiliency through their shooting struggles.
Kansas guard Remy Martin, who transferred from Arizona State, was able to pull the team within two points late in the first half. However, the Hurricanes responded with a basket, a steal, and a long-range drive by Isaiah Wong to extend the lead by six points as the first half ended.
While the first half was underwhelming, nothing goes wrong in the second half for Kansas. After Agbaji missed a couple of shots, Kansas could capitalize on its possession and extend its lead to 12 points. He was then able to make a 3-pointer that didn't require assistance from the rim.
Miami's basketball style
Throughout the tournament, Miami's players adopted the relaxed style of coach Jim Larrañaga. Before the game against Kansas, the Hurricanes lined up for a fake field goal.
Before the game against Kansas, Larrañaga told his team to enjoy the moment and not get too stressed. "The most important thing — and I tell them this every day, and have since the tournament began — smile and stay loose," Miami's head coach said. "Enjoy the moment. This should be a heck of a lot of fun."
Kansas to face Villanova in Final Four
The Kansas team has already played in 15 Final Fours under Bill Self. This season, the program surpassed Kentucky as the most active participant in the NCAA tournament. Despite this accomplishment, the team has not won a national title since 2008.
The Kansas team was able to win despite not dominating during the tournament. During the round of 32, they faced a more formidable challenge against ninth-seeded Creighton.
The team still feels the sting of the 2019 season, which was interrupted by a pandemic. Many fans in Lawrence believed that the program could win a championship.
Before the match against Miami, Self said that he did not believe that his team was the best in the country. "I never felt like this team was the best team in the country this year," he noted. "I felt like in '20, that was the best team in the country."
This season, the team's young players have shown the resiliency and experience to win championships. The emergence of Martin, who came off the bench during the tournament, has added to the team's confidence.
"This year's team is different, totally," Kansas' 59-year-old head coach said. "But I do think that this year's team has the same chance to do as well just because they have a strong belief that they can accomplish anything. And it's been impressive for me to watch them grow in that belief this year."