Coming off one of the most impressive performances in Kansas tournament history, a 98-66 dismantling of Purdue, the Jayhawks are one win away from returning to the Final Four for the first time since 2012.
Kansas (31-4) is in their seventh Elite Eight appearance under head coach Bill Self and will face No. 3 seed Oregon (32-5) on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. inside the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
It’s been five years since Kansas has been able to break through to the Final Four, but this team is on a hot streak parallel to very few teams in tournament history. Kansas is the first team since UConn in 1995 to score at least 90 points in its first three tournament games.
Bill Self and the team know the remainder of the tournament will not come as easy as the first couple of games.
“If we’re going to get there (the national championship) then we’re going to have to sweat one out. We know that,” Self told reporters Friday afternoon. “Tomorrow will be a highly competitive game, we believe, regardless of the situation.”
Both Kansas and Oregon came up one game short of reaching the Final Four last year. Kansas dropped a tightly contested battle against Villanova, and Oregon came up short versus Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Junior guard Devonte’ Graham was asked about the loss to Villanova last year.
“It was, you know, tough trying to get over that game. We could have executed a little bit better down the stretch,” Graham said. “ We’re back here again, and we’re just excited to be here and being able to play in this Elite Eight game again and possibly make the Final Four.”
Kansas relies on four guards in their starting lineup because of lack of post depth, while Oregon plays small with the loss of 6-10 forward Chris Boucher to a torn ACL in the Pac-12 conference tournament.
“They’re like us,” Self said. “They’re going to play small a lot of the time because they will play Dillon (Brooks) at the 4 like we play Josh and then play the best defender in the Pac-12, Defensive Player of the Year (Jordan Bell) around the middle, kind of like we do Landen (Lucas). So I think it will be two teams that at least match up with each other pretty well,” Self said about Oregon.
If Oregon were to come out on top Saturday night it would be their first Final Four since 1939.
Kansas VS Oregon
83.9 Scoring 79.1
49.2 FG% 48.3
41.1 3FG% 38.1
38.9 Rebounds 36.5
16.3 Assists 16.1
71.8 Points allowed 65.6
G- 00 Frank Mason (5-11, 190, Sr.) – 20.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.2 apg
G- 04 Devonte’ Graham (6-2, 185, Jr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.3 apg
G- 10 Svi Mykhailiuk (6-8, 205, Jr.) – 9.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 apg
G- 11 Josh Jackson (6-8, 207, Fr.) – 16.6 ppg, 7.1 apg, 2.9 apg
C- 33 Landen Lucas (6-10, 250, Sr.) – 8.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
F- 01 Jordan Bell (6-9, 225, Jr.)—10.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.8 apg
G- 03 Payton Pritchard (6-2, 200, Fr.)—7.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.7 apg
G- 05 Tyler Dorsey (6-4, 195, So.)—14.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.8 apg
F- 24 Dillon Brooks (6-7, 225, Jr.)—16.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.7 apg
G- 31 Dylan Ennis (6-2, 195, Sr.)—10.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg
Tune into 90.7 FM for the game on Saturday, as Nick Lewis is joined by Mac Moore on the call. Pregame starts at 7 PM.
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