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 — 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.
In a game that included the biggest shot of his career, Kansas senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk broke down his game-tying 3-pointer against Duke in the Elite Eight, which forced overtime and helped the Jayhawks to their eventual victory.
A couple of days afterward, he believed it was the toughest game he played in his career, especially because he matched up with Marvin Bagley III.
"I think that's the best player in my college career I've played against," Mykhailiuk said.
Omaha, Neb. — Svi Mykhailiuk played his first games at Kansas at age 17.
Reflecting on those early days ahead of KU's Elite Eight showdown against Duke, the senior opened up about the biggest struggles he faced as a freshman from another country.
"I'm going to be honest," Mykhailiuk said. "I wasn't ready my freshman year, like mentally,"
One difference between Ukraine and the U.S., Mykhailiuk noted, was in the way he was coached while playing basketball.
Specifically, Mykhailiuk had to adjust to the shouts of KU coach Bill Self, who got onto Mykhailiuk in a way he hadn't previously experienced.
"During the years I just learned he just wanted me to get better," Mykhailiuk said. "He's not, like, actually getting mad at me."
OMAHA, Neb. — Svi Mykhailiuk isn’t sure the Jayhawks are playing their best basketball at the moment.
At the same time...
“It doesn’t matter how we play,” Mykhailiuk said. “We’ve just got to win.”
The senior was held to just nine points and four rebounds in KU’s 80-76 win. While it wasn’t the smoothest performance for the team — at one point, KU led by 20 — Mykhailiuk was quick to note that KU is more than ready for another chance to play for a Final Four.
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” Mykhailiuk said. “We’ve just got to come prepared and be ready to guard and compete.”
Kansas basketball seniors Clay Young, Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, at the conclusion of an emotional and rewarding Senior Night at Allen Fieldhouse, discussed all that went into the 80-70 victory over Texas — and then some.
Fresh off of securing an outright Big 12 championship for the Jayhawks, Graham recalled the doubt regarding this team that he observed on social media earlier in the season.
“I don’t know if everybody seen that, but I seen it,” Graham said of a message that suggested he and his teammates didn’t deserve to wear the Kansas uniform. “It just put like a little chip on my shoulder and just let me go out and lead better and want it more. I know we all wanted it, obviously. But I think the negative comments and seeing people doubt us definitely made us have a chip on our shoulder.”
Kansas seniors Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Clay Young address the Allen Fieldhouse crowd for their Senior Night speeches on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.
Kansas basketball seniors Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Clay Young reflect on their careers, what it means to them to share Senior Night together and their emotions heading into their final game at Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas senior Svi Mykhailiuk explains all that went into the Jayhawks’ 79-68 victory over Texas A&M in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, including how KU’s speed proved more effective than the Aggies’ size.
Mykhailiuk added Kansas had to play tough to win, with he and freshman Marcus Garrett playing the 4 versus a bigger A&M front line.
LINCOLN, Neb. — It wasn’t a perfect game for KU, but the result couldn’t have been any better for the No. 13-ranked Jayhawks.
After dropping back-to-back games, the Jayhawks were able to swing things in their direction in a game in which coach Bill Self said his team didn’t execute especially well, at least until the end.
"Certainly we executed pretty good on that last one,” Self said of Svi Mykhailiuk’s game winner over Nebraska. “It was great to see the ball go in the basket for him.”
One player who executed well on Saturday was KU big man Udoka Azubuike, who tallied a career-best 26 points on 13-for-17 shooting.
Earlier in the week, Self said he challenged Azubuike to demand the ball more. The result?
“Dok played great,” Self said. “That was the best game Dok’s played since he’s been here."