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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Svi for 3 and great ‘D’ in KU’s Elite Eight victory

Duke guard Grayson Allen (3) throws a pass beyond Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) and Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) during the first half, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Duke guard Grayson Allen (3) throws a pass beyond Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) and Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) during the first half, Sunday, March 25, 2018 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

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Omaha, Neb. — His legs weary from leaning into 7-foot Marvin Bagley III all Sunday afternoon, Svi Mykhailiuk’s jumpers started glancing off the front of the CenturyLink Center rim.

Once, twice, three times in a row he missed a 3-pointer during the final 10 regulation minutes of a battle of heavyweights who never let up.

And with each miss, coach Bill Self’s motto for the game never changed: “Let it fly.”

And with each miss, point guard Devonte’ Graham, as much of a coach on the floor as Self has ever had, spoke the same words to Svi, his best friend.

“Devonte’ told me to keep shooting the ball and then the last one, he passed the ball and I just made it,” Svi said.

The pure shot delivered from just right of the top of the key tied the score with 26 seconds remaining and coupled with the terrific defense played on Grayson Allen at the other end, forced overtime in a game Kansas would win, 85-81. Svi’s shot locked the score, 72-72.

“Huge shot,” Self said afterward. “Biggest shot of the game.”

Overtime was fitting because there was no way either team deserved to lose after playing 40 minutes of such intense, entertaining basketball.

“When you have a great game, usually you have two teams that are deserving of winning, but only one wins,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

After Svi’s 3-pointer, the 17,579 spectators would have their guts torn apart one more time as Allen’s shot circled the rim for a brief eternity in which nobody could tell whether it would drop through the hoop or fall to the floor.

The mixture of relief and disappointment at the outcome of the final shot of regulation gave way to a five-minute Malik Newman show.

Deadly accurate from the right corner, Newman dominated the overtime, was named the Midwest Regional's outstanding player.

The buzzer sounded as the ball Lagerald Vick had whipped into the air finally came down and soon Svi and fellow senior Devonte’ Graham, who had failed to reach the Final Four in Elite Eight losses to Villanova and Oregon, met near halfcourt.

Svi’s words to Graham: “We did it, man! We’re going to San Antonio for the Final Four.”

Afterward, Self couldn’t stop talking about what a great game Svi played, and most of that time was spent discussing the defensive job he did on Bagley.

“Where we won the game was just by scrapping and Svi defending Bagley and Malik defending Allen,” Self said.

Svi gave up four inches in height and far more than that in wingspan guarding Bagley, who was trapped every time he was fed the ball.

“I thought Svi did about everything right defensively,” Self said. “The thing what’s hard with Bagley, he’s obviously a great talent, but he can take up so much space with one step. You can play good defense, but if he can get a step, that step is 4 feet and his arms are so long, he creates a way that you can’t contest that. I thought Svi did a great job of butt-fronting him, you know, sitting on his legs a little bit. I thought our traps were at least somewhat effective when he caught it.”

Svi mastered the art of playing physically up to the point allowed by referees without crossing the line.

“All the time he was on the court, I was with him, just pushing him a little so he could feel me every time,” Svi said. “Don’t let him go anywhere without me actually just putting my hand on his body so he would get tired and stuff. I was just doing it the whole game so he doesn’t feel free going around the court.”

Bagley finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Svi had 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Not as nearly as much was on the line the first time Svi hit a big 3 in the state of Nebraska this season. He defeated the Cornhuskers to end an off shooting night in the best way possible.

"That was a big shot, but that wasn't the same," Svi understated.

He had been on the wrong end of misplays a couple of times: Silvio De Sousa's pass to the perimeter, where Svi was open for a 3, sailed way over his head and landed out of bounds. Graham had overthrown him in transition, denying him a sure dunk. And then there were the shots glancing off the front of the rim. It would have been a tough way to end his career.

Yet, it's not surprising he shook all that off and made the shot. He has been playing for Self for four years and the most understated brilliance in Self's coaching success has to do with the way he empowers his players to make bold offensive plays because he thinks they have the talent to make them. He believes in them, making it hard for them not to believe in themselves. Self constantly reminds them to take the open shot, forever urges them to make the aggressive pass on the fly. And from Day 1, he insists his players train their focus on the next play. It wasn't the plays behind him that were on Svi's mind when he let it fly. It was the rim in front of him.

Self loved the mindset his players embraced all game.

“We didn’t play to go to the Final Four," Self said. "We played to beat Duke. So many times when you get on this stage regardless of how you tell your players to be loose, you play because you want what’s after. This wasn’t one of those games. Our guys know their guys. Their guys know all of us. We played to try to win that game and the ramification of winning that game is going to San Antonio.”

For the Final Four, the first one on the Riverwalk since Kansas slayed North Carolina and then Memphis in overtime to win the national title 10 years ago.

Villanova, the school that denied Kansas a trip to the 2016 Final Four, awaits Kansas for a Saturday national semifinal.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Duke


By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Duke 81.

By the Numbers: Kansas 85, Duke 81.

Comments

Dale Rogers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

QUESTION: Saturday's game will be televised on TBS but CBS Sports says there will be a "Kansas TeamCast on TNT" at the same time. What does this mean? Kansas announcers doing play-by-play? Will the video also be on TNT if that's the case? Thanks.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The Final Four and the title game will be simulcast on TBS, TNT, and truTV. TBS will carry the national perspective of the games. TNT and truTV will broadcast the games with announcers broadcasting from a specific team's perspective. I don't think this means we'll hear Brian Hanni or Greg Gurley on TNT.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It's part of the contract CBS and Turner signed back in the 2010 offseason.

Shannon Gustafson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, it's a KU focused broadcast with KU announcers and such. Basically it's a broadcast biased towards KU. I'll be recording both.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"the most understated brilliance in Self's coaching success has to do with the way he empowers his players to make bold offensive plays"

I'd take it further - This game shows where Coach Self is really a master. Toughness, rebounding from the guard position, being aggressive, were all things that Coach talked about as weaknesses earlier in the year, even when they were winning, because he knew there would be a game like this when it would be vital. Some people wrote them off when they weren't a finished product in December, January, or even February, but the Master just kept developing the team.

Huge hat tip to Coach and all of the players for listening and persevering. Where are those that talked about the game having passed Coach by, yada, yada, yada.

Is Devonte the successor? Maybe there's too much age gap, and Dtae has more playing to do, but maybe?

Stephen McNearney 2 months, 3 weeks ago

just to elaborate on the genius of the offensive game plan I will say I have NEVER seen some of the back picks and baseline cuts and passing angles (esp. lobs even though they were taller and longer in the low post) coach Self clearly designed specifically to put our Jayhawks in position to win this game... big ups to the student athletes, especially Svi and DeVonte as senior leaders, and Malik and just everyone for BEAKIN EM!! BYYYAAAHHHHH

Jeff Bandle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What drives me nuts about some coaches..cough cough Bruce Weber cough cough is how they have to try and dictate every move by the team. Quin Snyder was notorious for doing this at Mizzou. Bill will call plays but he will let them play out as the situation dictates because he has the confidence in his ability to coach the guys up. That's why he likes tough, veteran guards..they reflect his attitude.

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

This team is definitely proving to be tougher than any of us (including HCBS) thought.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

My streak of being proven wrong is still alive and well!

After getting pounded at Baylor, I said Kansas had neither the manpower nor willpower to win the Big 12. Two weeks later, they beat Texas Tech and won the Big 12.

After getting swept by Oklahoma State, losing Udoka to the knee injury, and learning we'd face OSU again in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, I said Kansas would lose a third time to OSU. But KU not only won, but beat OSU by double digits.

It was then that I began to sense that every time I said Kansas wouldn't do something, they did it.

So I said Kansas wouldn't win the Big 12 Tournament. And they beat West Virginia by 11 points to win the Big 12 postseason crown.

Then I said Kansas wouldn't get to the Final Four. And by God, what do they do? They outlast Duke in overtime and earn a spot in this year's Final Four!

Right now, nothing feels better than being wrong about these Jayhawks.

Now let's keep the streak going: Kansas will lose to Villanova on Saturday night.

Go prove me wrong again, Jayhawks!

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Hahaha, my son was pissed off when I told him the same thing! I said 'there is no way KU would beat Duke', expecting of course, us, advancing to FF!!!

Thanks to all boys in the team. Yes, Svi was hard rock solid on D, on just about every single critical moment. This guy deserves to be handed off a floor-burn general!!!

Harlan Hobbs 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Svi's double-double was huge, as of course was Malik's 32 points. Also, Udoka and Silvio combined for 13 points and 18 rebounds. Then, with Devonte as the floor general and the HOF master on the bench, this has to be one of the most satisfying KU wins of the Bill Self era.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Self told the Kansas City media that it was the second biggest win of his KU career. Prior to today, the 2012 Kansas-Missouri game in Lawrence was his second favorite win. And Self doesn't say things like that lightly.

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, that is a big statement! Of course he looked like that was exactly how he was feeling after the game, I don't doubt it's true!

Stephen McNearney 2 months, 3 weeks ago

i'm pretty sure coach said it was second best vs. the title game in 08 but muck fizzou anyway

Dale Rogers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

There were many great plays, too many to probably choose just one as best, but one I really liked that's not getting a lot of media attention is Vick's mid-air catch-and-pass to a wide open Malik. And then there's Devonte's over the shoulder while stumbling pass to Svi for the tying basket.

W Keith Swinehart II 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Svi did a nice head fake to get open for his tying shot.

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You fans gotta watch this, it tore me up, in joy....

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, that is pure awesomeness! Thank you for sharing, I hadn't seen this yet! Man, I love this team!

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 2 months, 3 weeks ago

sweet. i don't follow twatter too much so thanks for bringing this to light.

Tony Bandle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Grayson Allen choking made my evening.

2]. Sivio should be awarded the Stealth MVP of the Game.

3] It looked like 75% - 80% a KU Crowd. Good job all you fans.

4] Equation of the Game: [Height + Talent] - Experience < [Speed + Experience + Guts].

5] Villanova, Michigan, Loyola..Heads Up...the NCAA is all about guard play and none of you have seen the guard play Kansas will bring to the table next weekend. BE AFRAID...BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff Bandle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Duke was lucky they didn't get blown out. Bill is pretty good at exposing a zone and if KU had hit a few bunnies they missed and some of their open 3s, we're looking at a 8-10 point beatdown.

Everybody wants to make Duke's zone out to be some great strategic revelation from Coach K, but in reality his team was so crappy playing man-to-man he really had no choice. It was a stopgap measure so they could stay in games and out score teams.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I felt the same way too about being on the verge of a blowout. If KU cut the turnovers in half and made a few more wide open shots, they'd have won this one running away.

Craig Carson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I looked at the Duke zone like I do the WV press...Huggins knows his teams are gonna be lacking in talent and playmakers..only way he can really compensate is to play pressure D and hope they get enough TO and easy buckets to make up for their lack of scoring...when WV has lost, the other team usually has taken care of the ball

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If we beat Villanova, who would you rather play in the finals?

Personally, I'd rather face Michigan. I hate the Skunk Weasels for what they did to us in 2013 (not only beating us but flopping and faking getting punched in the family jewels), and I want revenge for that. Also, if we should lose the title game, there's less embarrassment in losing to a #3 seed than in losing to an #11 seed like Loyola.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't care who we play, but it would be nice to get revenge on Michigan for that 2013 loss, though none of the players on this team were here that year.

John Beilein's offenses have given us trouble in past years, but that time it Trey Burke and some good outside shooting that did us in if I remember right.

Also, I don't think that there was any doubt that Elijah nut-punched their big buy.

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"faking"? You must be joking. Or smoking. :)

Craig Carson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

id rather KU beat NOVA AND Michigan and avenge 2 of their more recent NCAA losses...

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I love hearing and seeing Coach Self talk about how special this team is to him, and as fans, this year's team has to rank up there with some of our all time favorites. Maybe one reason for this is because this year's squad really has adopted an underdog mentality, which is so rare for a program that has been a #1 seed 8 of the last 12 years. But these guys have been doubted all season. Take a look at ESPN's panel picks for the Final Four (link below) where only 1 out of 27 experts had Kansas making the Final Four. All year long, this team hasn't been talented enough or deep enough or [insert one of 100 other criticisms] and yet here they are in the Final Four. And while we won't play the role nationally of the underdog in San Antonio (thank you Sister Jean), I think our players and coaches embrace the idea that everyone's counted them out, and yet they just keep on fighting. As a fan, I love this departure from the norm of being the favorite, and I love the results that have come with it!!

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22738692/espn-experts-make-final-four-national-champion-predictions-2018-ncaa-tournament

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree, I think that it give the team an aggression and a feeling of freedom that people keep doubting them. They should remain aggressive and continue to play loose against Nova, and they will have a great shot to win. If so they will finally get the credit they deserve and be the "favorites" to win in the final game. I use the quotation marks around favorites because it's obvious that KU isn't the favorite of mostly everyone in the national sports media. You basically have to do a deep search on the dark web (or browse KUSports.com) to find anybody who has believed in Kansas this year. Coach K is getting lots of Coach of the Year love for switching defenses mid-season, but hardly anybody is talking about the miracle that Bill Self has pulled off in playing with such limited depth and post-play all year. I think that Bill Self should be coach of the year every year, but this year is especially impressive.

Marcia Parsons 2 months, 3 weeks ago

That's pretty funny. Many of them had none of their choices left in the tournament. Fran, for one. Only Jeff Goodman chose us, and I always thought he hated us.

Brad Watson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Keegs...now you can run all the San Antonio articles you want....its a reality!

Dick Williams 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank goodness we won or the game would have been decided by the refs who did an absolutely pathetic job of calling the game. It goes both ways and you hope it ends up even but I just got through watching it and using my slow motion to check the questionable calls and there is more than twice the number of bad calls against KU as there was against Duke. Like I said, thank goodness we won for the sake of the referees that called the game. Sure hope they do not ref the Villanova game.

Chris Bulgren 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! What'd ya say?

David Robinett 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't forget about Vick y'all. 14 points -- and his touch-pass assist to Malik in the corner was huge.

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Vick is an unsung hero in this game. His 4-5 TOs are nothing compared to what he's contributed overall to the game. His jumpers were falling and good thing is his instinct and decision making were just right on the money.

He still needs to learn how and when to lob pass or bounce pass to bigs, though. But he's come a long waaay from pre-tournament when it comes to making the right moves.

Freddie Garza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Everybody did their job well yesterday. Malik with his scoring. Svi with his defense and rebounding, and timely shots. Vick with his probing of the soft area of the zone and decision making within it. Devonte as the engine and the leader. Dok with his demoralization of the rim. DeSousa with his transition defense. Lightfoot for giving himself high five.

Everyone did great yesterday, total team effort.

Justin Kruse 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Amazing game! I'm just sitting down to watch it again.

I love that Svi hit the 3 to tie it up after missing some open looks. To get those misses out of his mind and nail that is huge! Shooters gonna shoot!

Then knocking away the rebound after Allen's miss at the other end was huge!

Two more, boys!

1988, 2008, 2018

Rock Chalk

Dave Miller 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Fly, Jayhawks!! Fly!! Let it fly in San Antonio!!

San Antonio here we come! Right back where Coach Self won his first one!

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

Bj Cassady 2 months, 3 weeks ago

This game was about the hunger, team play, Svi's defense (outstanding), Malik's offense, Devonte's gamesmanship, Vic's steady play, D'Sousa playing his heart out, Doak giving it his all. Mix it up and what do you have Victory!

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