Postgame Report Card: Villanova 95, Kansas 79
Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 95-79 loss to Villanova in the season finale at the Final Four in San Antonio.
Kansas coach Bill Self was adamant after the game that it was not KU's offense that cost them in this one. And it's hard to argue with him. After scoring 59 in its last two meetings with Villanova, KU got to 79 in this one, shooting 45 percent from the floor and 33 percent from 3-point range. Both numbers are a little under KU's season averages, but 79, on a normal night, would have been fine.
Yes, Villanova was red hot from start to finish, and it's hard to blame the KU defense for all of that. Besides, doing so takes too much credit away from Villanova's amazing night. Still, KU could have been better — especially early — in terms of energy, intensity and trying to make Villanova uncomfortable. The way the Wildcats moved the ball — and shot it — it's hard to envision that approach, had Kansas done it, changing the outcome all that much. But on a night when KU needed its best defensive performance of the season, it got something below average, which merely added to the problem.
Udoka Azubuike's mom was in the building, which is a terrific story unto itself. But her presence did not inspire the kind of night many KU fans were hoping. In 26 minutes, three above his season average, Azubuike finished with eight points, five rebounds and a block while knocking in 4 of 6 shots from the field. But even the block was a forgettable moment, as Azubuike pounded it off the glass only to have Villanova's Eric Paschall scoop it up, recognize the shot clock was winding down and bury a deep 3-pointer that was the one that really made you think a comeback wasn't in the cards for Kansas.
Devonte' Graham finished with the big-point night many thought he might and shot 9-of-18 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. All in all, he had a strong finale. Unfortunately, he got very little help. Malik Newman topped 20 points (21) for the sixth time in eight games but shot just 6 of 14 and 2 of 5 in the process. And Lagerald Vick finished with eight points and two rebounds and Svi Mykhailiuk 10 points and two rebounds on 2-of-8 shooting. Villanova had a lot to do with a lot of KU's shooting numbers, as their extended defense put constant pressure on the perimeter and never let KU find any rhythm. The Jayhawks' perimeter D, which came against a team that likely would've shot lights out against anybody on Saturday night, was not where it needed to be.
Silvio De Sousa (7 points and 7 rebounds in 10 minutes) really gave Kansas a spark in the first half when they desperately needed it. But the hole was too big by the time De Sousa did his thing. Marcus Garrett capped his strong freshman season with another sub-par effort, finishing scoreless with two rebounds and an assist in 18 minutes. And the rest of the KU bench merely checked in with the game out of reach as a way to give Graham, Mykhailiuk and Newman the final ovation they deserved.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. Villanova
- Final Stop: Jayhawks crushed by 3-pointers in Final Four loss to Villanova
- Tom Keegan: Final Four loss doesn’t take away from Jayhawks’ accomplishments
- Notebook: Azubuike’s mom attends first game; KU players undecided on NBA futures
- Villanova’s defense of 3-point line just as crucial as its shots from behind it in Final Four win
- The Keegan Ratings: Devonte' Graham tops ratings in final game of stellar career
- Disappointed fans in downtown Lawrence: KU simply got ‘outplayed’ but ‘we’ll be back’ next year
- Villanova knocks Kansas out at the Final Four