Villanova Breaks Final Four Single Game Three-Point Record

Malik Newman and Devonte’ Graham are keys for the potent Kansas Jayhawks offense

In Saturday's semifinal contests, Villanova made a Final-Four-record 18 three-pointers to defeat Kansas, 95-79, and MI used strong defense to end the Cinderella run of Loyola-Chicago, 69-57.

Kansas (31-8) was in its 15th Final Four and last won the national championship in 2008, the last time the Final Four was in San Antonio. Villanova went on to beat North Carolina for the national championship with a three-point buzzer beater by Kris Jenkins.

No. 1-seeded Villanova will attempt to capture its second national championship in three years when it battles MI on Monday night in San Antonio.

Villanova limited KU to six 3-point chances in the entire first half, when the Jayhawks made two.

Big man Omari Spellman has become a better post defender and is more active after reshaping his body.

The University of Kansas opened the doors to Allen Fieldhouse Saturday night so thousands of Jayhawk basketball fans could watch a live broadcast of KU's Final Four appearance.

More than most, the Wildcats know who they are.

Villanova attempted 40 3-pointers and only 25 2-pointers.

Villanova went 4-for-24 from 3 against Texas Tech last weekend, but the Wildcats didn't stray from what they do. He has made 4 of 5 three-pointers. Eric Paschall made the history books, too.

Because they don't have a lot of depth, the Jayhawks can't afford to foul a lot, but that also limits the number of easy points opponents get from free throws.

Villanova remains scorching hot from the three-point line in the second half.

The Wildcats' 13 threes in the first half tied the record. Villanova shot 53.1 percent (17/32) before the break.

Wagner, playing in front of his parents who made the trip from Germany, scored 24 points, had 15 rebounds and was 10 for 16 from the field. Of the 65 shots the Wildcats attempted, 40 of them were from deep. Villanova is up 34-22 with 5:30 left in the half.

Kansas tried everything against Villanova.

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MI (33-7) reached the title game by taking away Cinderella's slipper, sending Loyola-Chicago and Sister Jean home a game short of completing their divine run.

Last meeting: Villanova 64, Kansas 59, March 26, 2016, Louisville, Ky.

The high-motion, position-less offenses are the shiny objects of this Final Four. They did have an overtime win against Providence by 10 on March 10 in the Big East title game. Kansas guard Mario Chalmers was named the title game's MVP.

Bill Self's exasperated and nearly helpless reactions said everything about why Kansas' latest Final Four trip would last only one game. Villanova has been favored in every game this season.

"He's a beast on both ends of the floor", guard Phil Booth said.

"I thought Spellman and Paschall kind of set the tone because Doke was on Spellman - and in theory - if he could kind of maybe back off of anybody, it may be Paschall, even though he's more than capable of making them", said Kansas coach Bill Self. "They'd be hard for anybody to deal with if they shoot the ball like that". They play so well together. "When a team plays that well like they did tonight - Villanova - they just lit it up".

They make up for it with discipline, tenacity and a commitment to coach Porter Moser's methods. "They play real well for one another, and they always look for the best shot".

And waiting for them on the other side?

Said Kansas center Udoka Azubuike: "It was unreal".

MI (33-7) will face No. 1 seed Villanova, who smoked No. 1 Kansas 95-79, in Monday's national championship. Villanova's Jalen Brunson was also named The Associated Press men's college basketball player of the year.

Brunson has averaged 19.1 points and 4.8 assists this season and is shooting 52.7 percent. And it's not as though Jay Wright's team can't win on an off night.

"Definitely threads", he said.

"All the teams that are here, you have a laser focus, you have an ability to prepare for different opponents". So going to the basket and getting fouled was not needed but that may change on Monday night because sometimes you die by the jump shot after living by it.

"It's our best offensive team", Wright said. "And this group reminds me of our group in '16 in that way. And that's something that's similar to our team in '16". The Jayhawks beat Memphis for the title at the Alamodome 10 years ago. No 11 seed has ever advanced past the Final Four.

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