San Antonio — Following the Kansas basketball team’s Final Four loss to Villanova, sophomore guard Malik Newman shares his thoughts on the Jayhawks’ struggles at The Alamodome.
Newman, who became one of KU’s best players late in the season, said he hasn’t yet decided whether he will turn pro and leave the program early.
The season he spent playing alongside All-American Devonte’ Graham, Newman added, taught him a lot.
San Antonio — After witnessing an elite shooting display by the Villanova Wildcats, KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend had nothing but respect for the opposition.
"It seemed like they just made everything," Townsend said. "I think the best team won tonight."
The Wildcats blitzed the Jayhawks offensively, drilling 13 3s in the first half and finishing with 18 for the game.
However, Townsend didn't think the loss should sour what KU fans thought of the season.
"I think in a good way," said Townsend, asked how fans should remember the team. "I think they accomplished a lot."
San Antonio — Udoka Azubuike looked at the ground and shook his head. Moments removed from a season-ending loss to Villanova, he was asked to explain the shooting effort by KU's opponent.
"They don't even look at the rim sometimes," Azubuike said. "I've never seen a team shoot this way."
Azubuike and the Jayhawks struggled to defend the 3-point barrage from Villanova, surrendering 18 made 3-pointers and allowing the Wildcats to shoot better than 55 percent from the field.
Still, Azubuike said there were positives he could take away from the season, especially looking back on all KU accomplished.
"We just stuck together as a family," Azubuike said, "and tackled every obstacle."
San Antonio — Svi Mykhailiuk's words told the story. His face may have done so even more.
"It's over," said a stoic Mykhailiuk after KU's season-ending loss to Villanova. "They were better than us today."
The senior guard played his final game for the Jayhawks, scoring just 10 points on 2 for 8 shooting from the field.
That game capped off a four-year career in which Mykhailiuk became the all-time KU leader for made 3s in a single season, along with several other individual and team accolades.
"It's like my second home," Mykhailiuk said of KU. "I became the player I am because of Kansas."
San Antonio — Bill Self's post game speech was every bit a reminder to his team of what it had accomplished.
The Jayhawks finished the season 31-8. They won the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships and reached the Final Four under Self for the first time since 2012.
"Of all the teams that have gotten to a Final Four that we've had," Self said, "this one was probably the least expected one to do it."
Villanova, on the other hand, is still dancing.
The Wildcats knocked down a Final Four record 18 3-pointers en route to a 95-79 win over KU on Saturday.
"Today was a perfect storm early," Self said. "Unfortunately for us we were on the wrong end of it."
San Antonio — Listening to Kansas basketball coach Bill Self call the team soft following a loss to Oklahoma State, Svi Mykhailiuk believes it was a "breaking point" for the team to play better.
"We started taking everything personally, like for example don't let your man catch easy and don't let your man get a rebound," Mykhailiuk said.
Viewed as underdog against Villanova in the Final Four on Saturday (7:49 p.m., TBS), Mykhailiuk said it's nothing new for the Jayhawks after being doubted throughout the season.
San Antonio — Mitch Lightfoot is happy to be at the Final Four for a number of reasons.
“It beats the hell out of sitting in class,” Lightfoot joked. “I love class and everything, but thank God I’m not there.”
Lightfoot and the Jayhawks will match up against Villanova in the Final Four on Saturday, attempting to advance to the National Championship game for the first time since 2012.
In prepping for the Wildcats, the KU sophomore has noticed some similarities between the two teams. One of those aspects, Lightfoot said, is that Villanova has six different guys who are all capable of shooting from 3-point range.
“That’s kind of how we do play,” Lightfoot said. “You’ve got to get out to their shooters.”
The Kansas basketball team held an open practice at the Alamodome on Friday, one day prior to their Final Four game against Villanova in San Antonio.
San Antonio — Mikal Bridges was just a freshman the last time KU played Villanova. Two years later, he still has a pretty good memory of the game.
“It went down to the end, took 40 minutes,” Bridges said. “They were tough — on both ends.”
Bridges was credited with five steals in the game, but really he came away with four.
The fifth was a controversial play in which Bridges poked the ball away from Graham. The ball bounced down the court until Graham collided with Josh Hart.
“The ball was loose,” Bridges said. “Graham dove on it and got a foul.”