Monday Notebook: Finally, a Final Four at last!

1. KANSAS IS GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR

Kansas defeated Duke, 85-81, in overtime to advance to the Final Four. That was easily the best game of the tournament. I’ll be honest with you guys, I had given up. KU was down by three with under 40 seconds left and I had seen that movie before. Then Svi Mykhailiuk hit the biggest three of his career. Shortly after that, my heart had to be reinserted into my chest, and then overtime began. Malik Newman took over from there. On the game, Newman scored 32 points and collected seven rebounds. We knew someone had to be “the guy” is this game and Newman was just that. He hit huge shot after huge shot, made 11 free throws, and scored all thirteen points for KU in OT. It will go down as one of the all-time great performances for a Jayhawk in the tournament.

Lagerald Vick scored 14 points and made quite possibly the second biggest assist of the season. Vick played very well in the center of the Duke zone, hitting some nice floaters and jump shots. Devonte’ Graham finished the game with 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Once again, Graham didn’t score very well but hit three threes and was the leader Kansas needed him to be.

Svi Mykhailiuk scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists, hit the biggest shot of the season, and also shut down Marvin Bagley III. I’d say that’s good game.

Udoka Azubuike finished with nine points, and eight rebounds. Udoka played very well but fouled out with two minutes to go. He will have to play at a high level if Kansas is going to win a national title. Lastly Silvio De Sousa only scored four points, but grabbed 10 rebounds and played good defense. He will also have to play well if Kansas is going to get by Villanova.

2. Kansas vs. Villanova Final Four preview

Villanova is absolutely stacked. They’re led by national player of the year candidate Jalen Brunson, who averages 19.2 points. They call him the “Little Fundamental” for a reason. He can get wherever he wants on the floor and organizes the offense well. Mikal Bridges is an absolute stud as well, averaging 17.8 points, shooting 44% from three, and having a ridiculous amount of length for a guard. Donte DiVincenzo is a good scorer as well. averaging 12.9 points.

Villanova can flat-out score. They have six players that average 10 or more points and three players that shoot 40% or better from three. This is going to be a tough game to win, but any game at this point is going to be a tough game. The Wildcats use eight players for the most part, which is as many as Kansas plays. Kansas matches up well with Villanova as both teams are guard heavy and like to run in transition and shoot threes. It’s as great of a Final Four match-up as you could ask for. Two blue-bloods with All-American level players and two explosive offenses. Prediction: Kansas wins 87-82.

3. Michigan vs. Loyola Chicago Final Four preview

A miracle run against a team that might be lucky. Michigan has been average in three of their four games, while Loyola has been on a run few teams can even dream of. Michigan can win the whole thing if they knock down some threes but honestly so can Loyola. They don’t take midrange jumpers whatsoever. They pretty much only take threes and layups (which is where the future of basketball is headed). The Wolverines certainly have the advantage inside with Mo Wagner. Loyola is the faster team, Michigan is more talented, but that hasn’t stopped the Ramblers yet. These are two good teams, Loyola deserves to be here more than Michigan probably. Prediction: Michigan wins 75-68

4. How satisfying is this?!

What a win yesterday. I lost my mind as the clock hit zero, Nick Weippert cried tears of joy, and Ryan Landreth also lost his mind. I’m sure you all had similar reactions. But how dang satisfying is this? After back-to-back losses in the Elite Eight both in heartbreaking fashion playing teams they were favored against, to win this game which was viewed as a coin flip at best. It just feels so good to see the Jayhawks get back to the Final Four. They have a tall task in front of them on Saturday, but let’s just take a moment and enjoy this. It’s been one heck of a year, and they’re not finished yet.

Landen Fields is a contributor for Rock Chalk Blog. You can check out his archive here.

Landen Fields

I’m a junior in high school. I’m also homeschooled, which gives me the ability to watch ESPN all day. I love the Jayhawks, and I love to write about them. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, Marvel, and action/sci-fi movies. I hope to have a career in sports media one day, and I am grateful for this first step into a larger world.