Only one will play for the national title since perennial Big 12 champion Kansas plays Villanova in the second regional semifinal game.
One KU basketball player will be getting a special visit this weekend from someone he hasn't seen in a long time. The Wildcats have won their past eight games by double digits and are seeking their second national title in three seasons (2016), which would give them a program-record 36 wins. This discrepancy may indicate a slight advantage for 'Nova come Saturday, as they look to make another appearance in the NCAA Championship.
This will be the third meeting between the schools in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova got to that Final Four after beating Kansas 64-59 in the South Region final. In this year's tournament, Villanova has racked up 47 3-pointers through four rounds - the most in tournament history. But they're hardly defined by just shooting because they hit just 4 of 24 treys against the Red Raiders yet managed to win. "You have to be able to adjust and the fact that we have had experience doing that is important". They're led by senior guard, Devonte' Graham, who hopes he can finally get over the hump and bring another championship home for the Jayhawks.
Villanova: Jalen Brunson is the Wildcats' best player and leading scorer (19.2 ppg) and is the Big East and national player of the year.
Five teams on the left side of the bracket seeded lower than five made it to the Elite Eight. "You can't dwell at all on not making shots. We have a good rotation going now, and all year everybody has bought in to defense and we knew that was the biggest thing for us to work on".
MI is now a -5.5 favorite to win the game and advance to the final. But post Eric Paschall had a breakout last game with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Mikal Bridges (17.8 ppg and 43.6 three-point percentage) is the team's best National Basketball Association prospect.
Sophomore guard Malik Newman was named Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player after averaging a team-high 21.8 points in its first four NCAA Tournament wins. Newman has been key this tournament and scored 32 points in the Jayhawks' win over Duke in the Elite Eight.
"We have been working on our defense all year but then guys got hurt and the rotation was a little shorter", junior guard, Phil Booth said. "Mama knows best. But whatever help we can get from Rachel, we'll take it because nobody loved her Jayhawks more than she did and we're certainly grateful for that". But I do think it enhances it. As perimeter oriented teams, Villanova and Kansas shoot a lot of threes. "You know, we play through a big with his back to the basket; they don't". They are 12-0 this season when reaching that mark.
"I don't think the differences are that great. They both make the right decisions all the time".