Omaha, Neb. — After an 85-81 victory over Duke in the Elite Eight on Sunday, Malik Newman said it was hard to process his first trip to the Final Four.
"It still doesn't feel real, even to this point," said Newman, who scored a game-high 32 points. "I know we there. We're happy to be there. I'm excited to be there, I know the seniors is and the rest of the team and coaching staff ... tomorrow when I wake up, I think I'll feel totally different."
Newman played defense on Grayson Allen on Duke's final possession, watching Allen's shot bounce on the rim twice before slowly rolling out. He thought it gave the Jayhawks a confidence boost to force overtime.
"I just knew that I had to step up with my play for the last five minutes of the game because at the end of the day, it could've been our last five minutes."
A look at the Kansas basketball players' postgame celebration following their 85-81 overtime victory against Duke in the Elite Eight at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
Omaha, Neb. — Averaging more than 13 points during the NCAA Tournament, Kansas junior guard Lagerald Vick believes the Jayhawks are playing with more confidence entering Sunday's Elite Eight game against Duke.
Vick said he thought Duke was the best team the Jayhawks will play at this point in the season, but his recent strong play has been led by an "aggressive mindset."
"I feel like everybody is on the same page and we're just out there playing," Vick said.
Omaha, Neb. — Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. says it will bring back a lot of memories when he sees Kansas sophomore center Udoka Azubuike on the other side of the court before Sunday's Elite Eight game at CenturyLink Center.
Carter and Azubuike were AAU teammates winning the prestigious Peach Jam together. But once the ball is thrown in the air, Carter said both players are too competitive to let it affect them.
"This is one of the reasons I play basketball, for these moments like this," Carter said. "I just want to go out there and play as hard as I can and do whatever I have to do to make sure our team is the one on top."
Omaha, Neb. — After an 80-76 victory against Clemson on Friday to advance to the Elite Eight, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said he considers it a great season for the Jayhawks. But he’s hopeful that the season can continue with a trip to San Antonio next week.
“It’s been great, but it would be nice to make it special,” Self said. “I think in order to do that, at Kansas, you have to go to the Final Four. I honestly believe that, I’ve always thought that, but we should play free and loose on Sunday, though.”
Despite the Jayhawks’ three wins in the NCAA Tournament, Self believes the Jayhawks haven’t played “great” yet.
“I don’t know what we’ll do different, but I know one thing: I’m going to tell my guys to let it fly,” Self said. “Whoever we are playing (Duke or Syracuse), you know we’re going to have to shoot 30 3s.”
Omaha, Neb. — Returning to the Elite Eight for the third straight season, Kansas senior point guard Devonte’ Graham said it’s a special achievement. But it would mean more if the Jayhawks can advance to the Final Four.
“I came to this mountain two times in a row and fell short,” Graham said. “This year, I just want to make it over.”
Kansas advanced to the Elite Eight with an 80-76 victory over Clemson at the CenturyLink Center. Graham was limited with foul trouble in the second half but he tried to encourage his teammates from the sideline.
“I had to be the biggest cheerleader,” Graham said.
One day before Clemson is set to play Kansas in the Sweet 16 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, the Tigers conducted a practice Thursday morning.
More than 24 hours ahead of Friday's Sweet 16 matchup against Clemson in Omaha, the Kansas basketball team held its first practice at the CenturyLink Center on Thursday afternoon. The practice was closed to the public.
The Kansas basketball team arrived to its team hotel in Omaha on Wednesday night, a couple of days ahead of its Sweet 16 matchup against Clemson at the CenturyLink Center.
Wichita — Preparing to play Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard discussed what's stood out on film when he's studied the Jayhawks and why he believes Svi Mykhailiuk is the X-factor of KU's offense.
"They space you out, they pick and roll, they are driving," Willard said. "I love Devonte' Graham, what he does. He's the ultimate point guard, two guard. He can score when he needs to and he gets everybody involved."
With a size advantage in the post, via star forward Angel Delgado, Willard said the Pirates will try to make the most of their physicality.