Saturday, March 26, 2016

Villanova ends KU’s season, reaches Final Four

Kansas guards Frank Mason (0) and Devonte' Graham (4) look to the referees as Villanova's Kris Jenkins (2) celebrates during the first half of an NCAA Elite Eight matchup, Saturday, March 26, 2016, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas guards Frank Mason (0) and Devonte' Graham (4) look to the referees as Villanova's Kris Jenkins (2) celebrates during the first half of an NCAA Elite Eight matchup, Saturday, March 26, 2016, at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.


— The top overall seed is out of the NCAA Tournament and Villanova is headed to the Final Four.

No. 2 Villanova snapped Kansas’ 17-game winning streak Saturday night inside KFC Yum! Center with a stifling defensive effort that limited Kansas to one of its roughest shooting nights of the season.

Even if the stats did not show it, KU struggled to get much of a rhythm going all night and Villanova, which improved to 33-5, played tough defense and hit 18 of 19 free throws to pull out the victory, 64-59.

The Jayhawks fired the initial blow and controlled the first 6 or so minutes of this one, building a 16-12 lead and playing from a position of advantage the whole way.

But that’s when KU’s offense went cold and Villanova heated up, ripping off a 13-0 run to build a 9-point lead late in the half. KU trimmed the lead to four just before the break but a big three by Kris Jenkins inside the final 5 seconds put Villanova up seven heading into the locker room.

Kansas came out with a vengeance in the second half and, in seven minutes, completely erased that lead and built one of its own. KU led by as many as five on a couple of occasions midway through the second half and that’s when things turned into that heavyweight fight that people expected, with the teams trading huge blow after huge blow the rest of the way as the pressure mounted and tension tightened with every dribble.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the other action:

• The game turned when: Anyone was breathing at any point. This was a back-and-forth affair that featured all kinds of mini-runs and huge moments by both teams from start to finish. Nova's 10-0 run in response to a 9-0 run early in the second half that put Kansas up five, gave the Wildcats a 50-45 lead and Kansas never led again. 

• Offensive highlight: With KU trailing 25-17 and struggling to get anything going on offense, Devonté Graham buried a huge three-pointer from the right wing that gave KU life and a little confidence. Early in the second half, with Kansas showing a little more life and polish on offense, Frank Mason III flipped an easy lob pass to Wayne Selden Jr. on an inbounds play underneath that Selden easily finished to pull Kansas within three again, 34-31 with 16:46 to play. After falling behind 36-31 in the moments after that, KU ripped off a 9-0 run that featured a bucket from Lucas, another inbounds basket by Selden, a power move to the rim by Ellis and a banked-in three-pointer by Graham, who simply smiled and shrugged after he saw the ball go through to put Kansas up 40-36.

• Defensive highlight: After a pair of free throws by Ellis opened the second half, Mason stole the inbounds pass after nearly forcing a five-seconds call and then drove hard to the rim to finish a twisty-turvy reverse layup that pulled Kansas within three (32-29) and prompted Villanova coach Jay Wright to call a timeout 19 seconds into the second half. With 7:24 to play in the game, another huge steal proved to be a huge play for Kansas. After Lucas missed the front end of a one-and-one that would’ve cut the Nova lead from five to four, Selden swiped the rebound out of the hands of an unsuspecting Villanova player and stole an extra possession for the Jayhawks. A couple of passes later, Graham buried his fifth three of the game to pull Kansas back within two, 50-48.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

After season-ending loss, Self, Ellis and Traylor describe what went wrong vs. Villanova

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as well as KU seniors Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor, describe the issues that came up for the Jayhawks in a 64-59 loss to Villanova in the Elite Eight. The loss, one game shy of the Final Four, ended KU's season, and the careers of ...

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• Key stat: After carrying the Jayhawks for weeks — some might even say years — senior forward Ellis was stymied all night and finished his college career with a four-point outing on 1-of-5 shooting.

Controversial call: From Terry Wymer, on the officials' call with 34.1 seconds left in the second half:

"Kansas was in team control of the ball. The ball came loose and Kansas maintained the ball. Number four for Kansas (Graham) undercut number three for Villanova (Josh Hart). therefore it was a team control foul and they were not shooting a one-and-one. They never lost the ball. We (the officials) got together to review the sequences to make sure."

— Obtained by USBWA pool reporter Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports

• Up next: Nothing. KU’s season ends one game shy of the Final Four. Kansas finishes the season with a 33-5 record. 

— See what people were saying about KU's Elite Eight loss during's live coverage

More news and notes from KU’s Elite Eight loss to Villanova

By the Numbers: Villanova 64, Kansas 59

By the Numbers: Villanova 64, Kansas 59


Mike Barnhart 5 years ago

At this point, a bad game ends your season. One team wins it all, the rest are sad. This year we're sad.

If we're a one or two seed every year, we'll win a championship " once in a while"... I'll take that!

Cory McCart 5 years ago

agreed, that is a good thing to keep in mind, but it really is a disappointing way to see perry go out. a loss, in any form it comes in, is tough and makes you think about what could have been. just have to appreciate the season and let the sting fade.

Bryce Landon 5 years ago

I'm brokenhearted for a lot of guys - for Perry Ellis, who had his worst game ever at the worst possible time (Damn, now I really wish he had unlimited eligibility!), for Jamari Traylor, whose only Final Four experience was riding the pine because of NCAA eligibility BS, for Evan Manning, whose KU career ends in different fashion from that of his father, and for Hunter Mickelson, who didn't get hardly any playing time even though he demonstrated early on that he could make an impact. Most of all, I'm brokenhearted for Bob Davis, whose booming voice will never be heard again on the Jayhawk IMG Sports Network.

Despite this loss, there's a lot to feel good about going into the offseason and next season. We have four of five starters coming back - Lucas, Selden (hopefully), Graham, and Mason - so we will once again be Big 12 favorites, especially with Oklahoma and Iowa State losing key guys. The newcomers made some strides during the course of the season, and I look forward to a much improved Carlton Bragg.

As for Bill Self, my confidence in him is fully restored despite the fact that he continues to struggle in Elite 8 scenarios (2-6 all-time, 2-4 at KU). After I spent all of last season calling for his firing after two underachieving seasons, he restored the program to the way it should be - 30-win season, a 12th straight Big 12 title, a Big 12 Tournament title, a Maui Invitational title, a nice win over Kentucky, and a sweep of an Oklahoma team that is going to the Final Four. While he clearly needs to change his approach to coaching Elite 8 games, I repent of my belief that he is not worthy to coach this Kansas program.

I can't wait till we play our first exhibition game in November!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

KJ Quartermaine 5 years ago

You're an effing moron if you were calling for Bill to be fired. Go drive off a cliff fake KU fan

Bryce Landon 5 years ago

Not sure what's more disturbing - you telling me to kill myself like the hide-behind-the-keyboard coward that you are, or that someone upvoted your despicable comment.

Daniel Kennamore 5 years ago

I appreciate Self and everything he's done for KU...but I think it's time for him to move on to the NBA. His style is obviously built to do better in a series then a single elimination tournament, which would be perfect in the NBA.

How many more years do we need to see another Final Four caliber team get out prepped, out coached and sent home early? Final Fours are THE biggest metric for a college basketball coach at this level...and he's only made it twice in 13 tries. A coach is a CEO of a program...a CEO who posted negative growth 11 out of 13 years would be shown the door.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

When people hurt (and it's okay for anyone to admit that they hurt), they often look for a source to blame for how they're feeling. But sometimes there is no one to blame. Your comment doesnt seem to be made with an overly rancorous tone, but I find the points you make difficult to accept. I mean, sure. The state of mind of a team is something the coach influences, but doesnt have complete control of. At a certain point you have to accept that a coach can take his players only so far, and then they have to take it upon themselves to bring what theyve been taught to the floor. I hurt. I get it. But laying blame at Coach's feet is not the solution. Calipari has perhaps been more successful than Coach Self in FF appearances, and yet he fails to get over the hump for national championships often. Same with Coach K. And Tom Izzo. It's the nature of the beast. If you ran Self out of here and brought some other guy in, you'd have the same headaches. We have to lick our wounds together and not turn on each other. Self is not at fault here. In no way. And I hurt too.


Daniel Kennamore 5 years ago

I don't 'hurt' fact these yearly losses are nearly expected by me at this point. And THAT'S the problem.

Coach K, Roy Williams, Izzo, Calapari etc. all have years where they lose early...but they still make the Final Four and win titles many times more frequently than Self. Either we are an elite program that demands similar success or we continue to settle for Self's March failings. My vote is for the former.

Dick Murdock 5 years ago

You would be better served if you actually knew what you were talking about. Williams never won a championship here. His teams were dismal nearly every single March. And the "Metric" you mention of going to Final Fours is a great example. The "metric" is winning Championships. Period. Coach K and Izzo are not playing this weekend so your point is as full of BS as you are.

Scott Simpson 5 years ago

I too respect Self, but in my opinion he's a mediocre tournament coach at best. His teams who are generally favored or "should win" show up flat year in and year out. Self has been walking on water because of his conference championship streak, but the reality is that he consistently under-performs in the tournament. The last 10 years we have had had 6# 1 seeds and have never been seeded higher than 3. In that time we've only reached the final four twice and any KU fans who haven't been hiding under a rock know that most of those losses came from a team that should have been beat with relative ease.

Michael Lorraine 5 years ago

None of the elite teams perform as well in the tournament as they do during the regular season.

Cory McCart 5 years ago

feel good post of the night, bryce.

that said, i can't help but think of how much wayne's shot was off tonight, and the way they almost completely took perry out of the game. pretty impressive, villanova is tough.

rock chalk.

David McGee 5 years ago

We ran into a team with a superior front line. It was going to happen sooner or later and this was the expected result.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

No one is at fault here. There is no one to blame. But this one hurts because our expectations were so high, and they were justified. The end of the basketball season is always a dark curtain over the year in sports for Kansas fans. But this year I hurt more because of the loss of Perry Ellis. A scholar, a stellar athlete, and most of all a gentleman. Tonight he is taking off his Kansas uniform for the last time and that crushes me. Double whammy.

Yeah, this one hurts.

Craig Alexander 5 years ago

Lots of positives this season. Love these kids.

John Kelley 5 years ago

Ellis 4 points. Big disappointment. To many turnovers and poor shooting against the zone.

Tyson Ailshie 5 years ago

This team had what it took to win a national championship and couldn't get it done when the chips were down. What a colossal waste. The team next year is going to be nowhere near as battle tested and capable. We could get Josh Jackson, but I doubt he would make the team better. It would just be Wiggins 2.0. No if ands or buts, the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball program should be in one business and one business only, and that is competing for and winning national championships. We have been anemic in this area as long as I can remember. A championship every 20 years is sub par for a supposed blue blood program with the written rules of basketball and inventor of the game to their name. I don't give a whip about Big 12 championships anymore. Maybe my post is a little in the heat of the moment and ripe with negativity and sour grapes, but doggone it, I want championships for this program and I want them to come with a little more frequency. I don't see anything wrong with wishing that. No more choke jobs! Get. It. Done. NOW

RJ King 5 years ago

um . . . 2008 + 20 does not = 2016. Were you not satisfied with 2012??? This year we were in one of the toughest brackets. This game was billed as a national championship caliber matchup. Nova gambled on shutting down Perry. It worked. Only one team each year "gets it done." Colossal waste? Drama queen.

Casey Olson 5 years ago

I think you are absolutely right. Saying anything even remotely critical on this site gets childishly labeled as blasphemy. My point is that with the teams to come through here, 3 titles isn't enough. How is that even remotely arguable for a team with, like another poster stated, the original rules of basketball housed next to our gym. Do I think Self should be fired? Not even close, but to say he has adapted his system to what succeeds in March is not correct or acceptable for a program with this pedigree. I think we have the best coach in the country when you consider recruiting, player development, school representation, rival wins, etc....... the conference title streak is one of the most impressive streaks in modern sports. He's the right coach for Kansas but a major philosophy change is needed for March success

Michael Lorraine 5 years ago

Disappointing when a team has the potential to win it all and falls short but I feel like this squad played up to or near their potential and that's all you can ask for. Can not say the same for some of the recent past teams in Lawrence.

Chad Redeker 5 years ago

Great season. Out coached is the theme for this game. Like Bill but something has got to change. Perry gets 5 shots the whole game, really. Against the zone, why wasn't he around the free throw line so he can create. Never got him in any kind of space like he normally is. If our guards are going to stand at the top of the key and Jack up 3 point shots all night why can't we use Perry as point forward and have him start the offense. When they played man how come we didn't have Lucas screen Perry's man to give him space and pull their big away from the basket? Guards never moved the ball got stuck all nught. Just tired of saying maybe next year!

RJ King 5 years ago

It's not Self's fault if the guards jack up three's. He CLEARLY instructs for the ball to go through Ellis. Face it, we looked tight all night. They panicked.

Tony Bandle 5 years ago

We lost to the toughest number 2 seed in the tourney who reached the #1 ranking during the season, playing their best basketball while the odds of losing after 17 wins in a row were high against us, while our best player had the worst game of his career and the team had a horrible shooting night....and we lost by only five points in the Elite Eight.

Nothing to be ashamed of here. It hurts, sure, but it's no failure. We just got beat by the better team for that game.

Next year's roster could look really different. Perry, Hunter, Jamari, Evan graduated, Selden, Diallo maybe even Bragg declaring for the NBA, Svi headed back to the Ukraine, Brannen transfering to Div II for max playing time. The only sure things are Landen, Vick, Pollard, the redshirt big guy. and Tyler plus the committed h.s. seniors.

Actually the truly only sure things are the guys who have graduated being gone and Tyler playing his red shirt senior year!

RJ King 5 years ago

Pollard walked off the team a year ago. The big guy is Colby.

But I agree with the toughest #2 assessment. Why did we not get Xavier, if we were the overall number 1? Maryland was under seeded as a #5. (They would've beaten even a healthy Cal.) That game took a lot out of us. We played two teams back to back who had been ranked #1 for weeks during the season and we ran out of gas. You're so right - nothing to be ashamed of. Enough said everybody else.

Kristen Downing 5 years ago

Free throw shooting hurt us all year, please change Coach and make them practice. No player from the state of Kansas on the team next year will bother me. Did he recruit one? Finally, be prepared to play against the zone and practice the zone as a defense. Shake it up a bit.

RJ King 5 years ago

Mitch Lightfoot has Kansas ties. Who else did you have in mind? Can you imagine the criticism if Self took a 2 or 3-star no-name from KS, instead of going after the 4-5 stars? Can't have it both ways.

Mike Riches 5 years ago

Congratulations to our Jayhawks on a great season that started in South Korea and ended in Louisville. It was heartbreaking to see Traylor and Graham weeping in the closing moments. I hope that Selden feels the need to stay for his senior year. I think the sting of this game (and the new rule that allows a player to return if his draft status isn't where he wants it) will propel Selden to come back for one last year.

As disappointing as this loss was, I was not looking forward to playing OU again. I think it's really hard to beat a good team three times in a season. Still I would have loved for our guys to have that chance...

Bradly Moore 5 years ago

Good riddance Perry Ellis. You are weak stock. No balls, no baby. KU Will be a much better team without his ho-hum, head hung low attitude. Can't stand it. Kansas basketball is nowhere near Duke or Kentucky. Don't try to bring up the fact that we advanced further than them. Any one of us would trade places with Duke's tournament pedigree. Oh well, I can always count on a big 12 championship. (Fart noise)

RJ King 5 years ago

wishing for a thumbs down button.

Michael Lorraine 5 years ago

I'll give you a pass for being a grieving fan Bradly but your comment gets my vote for worst post of the year.

Kay Jensen 5 years ago

Just so many bad decisions down the stretch. A very painful way to lose. Plus free throws. No one is talking about the fact that we lost this game at the line.

Mike Mills 5 years ago

Outcoached? Well.....depending on how you look at the game that statement might have some merit but can't say that was the case. Great job by Nova executing a defensive game plan that made Perry a non factor. Perry has been fabulous and will be tough to replace next year but he didn't do a good job of really fighting to make sure Nova's plan didn't happen. Not saying the lost is on Perry but Self did try to get the ball to him in various ways but some of those missed positive offensive possessions fell on Perry's shoulders (not posting up stronger/longer, etc).

Overall, tough lost but GREAT season! Should be in the same situation next year.

Lance Hobson 5 years ago

I am just so utterly depressed and disappointed. The guys tried hard but I just don't understand the lack of rhythm. So many turnovers. Ugly three attempts and one that banked in. Self is the best coach around but the Elite 8 is his kryptonite. The only Elite 8 game we played well was in 2012 against UNC. Even the Davidson game in 2008 was an ugly and somewhat lucky win. Just don't get it.

Dick Murdock 5 years ago

I'm not sure why people on this forum can't accept the fact that the better team won tonight. I bleed crimson and blue just like the rest, however Villanova was clearly better than the Jayhawks tonight. People can blame anyone they want but from my perspective, KU played as hard as possible against a clearly better team.

Kristen Downing 5 years ago

You are right. The best team this one night won.

Kyle Sybesma 5 years ago

I can't believe how spoiled some fans are on here. One loss and everyone is ready to jump off the cliff.

Think about who we'd get to replace Self.

Think about who makes the decision to hire the replacement. That's right........ the same guy who hired Weis.

I hear that Self doesn't compare to Cal, Williams, Izzo or K. Remember this...... Self is blowing Williams out of the water at Williams previous job. Cal and Self are tied for National Championships. Cal leaves programs with investigations and had final fours vacated and he lost a first round NIT game to Robert Morris at UK. Izzo hasn't won a NC since 2000. He lost to a 15 seed. K is an all time legendary coach on the Wooden level.

So I ask, who would be better than Self? NO ONE!!!

Get over yourselves and remember the other guys get paid to coach too. The other players have pride in their school too. If it were easy everyone would be successful.

Think about UCLA has gone through since Wooden left or what UNC went through when Smith retired or how long it took UK to find an adequate replacement for Pitino or where UK was when they hired Pitino. Remember the KU vs UK blowout? Soon we will see the fall of Duke when K retires.

I'm as heartbroken as everyone else but I'll take this heartbreak because it means we had a team capable of winning it all and when it doesn't work out it hurts. I'll take the hurt and I'll take it with Self on the sideline any March.

Scott Simpson 5 years ago

I don't disagree with a lot of what you said, but let's be honest; Bill Self is a master at league play and consistently under-performs during tournament play. Do I want him fired today......Absolutely not. Should he be without criticism and the mere thought of firing him be out of the question.....absolutely not. If there is a better option out there, it needs to be considered. Fair or not, Kansas Basketball has expectations and it's very much a "What have you done for me lately" situation. it goes with the territory, Produce or else. Maybe next year, is the Missouri motto...

Kyle Sybesma 5 years ago

Scott, you say you don't want Self fired but later you state, "Produce or else." Produce or else what? Finish your statement or threat.

Produce 12 straight Big 12 championships Highest win percentage in KU history. Two Final Fours One national championship

Casey Olson 5 years ago

Did anyone else have an oh sh#! moment when Perry missed his first layup?

Kristen Downing 5 years ago

Third game he missed his first shot in the tourney. I also believe in two of the games he followed with an early foul.

Casey Olson 5 years ago

It looked out of character from his recent play and I guess I meant his first few shots. My point is he looked out of sorts from very early on and he has a tendency to disappear. He more so than others seems to lose confidence when he doesn't see the ball go through the hoop. Also, KU seems to miss a lot of bunnies in many of these March losses.

Tyler Capone 5 years ago

so are we all gonna ignore that ridiculous comment by Bradly Moore?? Lol dude just blasted Perry Ellis out of all damn people, for what??? Because he had a bad game? Wow I thought he was supposed to carry us every game...

Lance Hobson 5 years ago

Self is the best coach in the country so anyone suggesting he get fired needs to get a grip. It's better he has trouble in the Elite 8 than the first round or NIT. If he leaves we end up like Missouri.

Tony Bandle 5 years ago

Well, that might be a little radical. If he leaves, we have our pick of the best young coaches in America [Greg Marshall, the Villanova Guy, the Gonzaga guy, etc,. etc.] There are truly six crown jewel coaching jobs in America; North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, UCLA and Kansas....and, at worst, Kansas is number 3 !!!

Someday Bill will leave and, trust me, we won't end up like Misery!!!

RJ King 5 years ago

" . . . best YOUNG coaches . . . " ??? Greg Marshall and Mark Few are 53. Jay Wright is 54. Seriously doubt any of them will end of at Kansas.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

He is not going to leave. He should not leave. None of those you mentioned have had greater success than Coach Self.

Timothy Rake 5 years ago

Few ain't going anywhere. He already turned down an offer at Oregon (next door to his hometown of Creswell, OR) several years ago.

Marshall? well, let's see, the combined record of Few and Marshall in March in the tourney? Final Fours? Elite Eights? Sweet 16s? Better than Bill Self Yeah, that's what I thought you'd say.

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