And to think we were worried about making the NCAA Tournament early on in the season through the first ten games. Bill Self, Tyshawn Taylor, and the Kansas Jayhawks have done it again after a huge 80-67 victory over the UNC Tar Heels. Kansas is on to the final four after winning ugly; something that Bill Self and his team were aiming to do all along. Kansas will have to face Ohio State in their next Final Four match-up, after disposing their former coach’s team.
Without star point guard Kendall Marshall, the Tar Heels were led by freshman PG Stillman White. While his shooting was subpar, they didn’t need him to shoot. White played admirably well for a frosh on the big stage for the first time, and he dished out seven assists to help the Tar Heels climb back. Harrison Barnes knocked down two free throws to make it a 68-67 game, so the Heels were confident in the clutch. However, they would never score again and were dominated by the superior defensive team at the end of the game.
Say whatever you want about point guard Tyshawn Taylor, because he is inconsistent and turns the ball over a bit too much. But when he’s at his best, I can’t name a player in college basketball who can stop him. Taylor went off for 22 points, and he also led the way with six boards, five assists, and five steals. You read that correctly, the swift star had five steals and had as good of an all-around game as you’re going to see these days.
Meanwhile, two players on the Tar Heels big three did not fair out as well, with Harrison Barnes going 5-14 and 0-5 from the three-point line in an inefficient game. He did have four rebounds and assists apiece, but you don’t envision your most talented player having a down game in the Elite Eight. John Henson went just 5-12, and the big had four rebounds in a poor performance.
James Michael McAdoo isn’t a player well-regarded for his offensive play, but he has gained respect among fans for being a tough defensive player who is also decent on the offensive end. In 19 minutes of action, McAdoo went 6-8 with a team-high 15 points, four rebounds, two steals, and a block. He was undoubtedly the team’s best player, on a night when only one of the team’s three best players- Tyler Zeller- did well (6-11, 6 rebound, 4 blocks).
The Kansas Jayhawks held a 40-30 advantage on the boards, with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey fulfilling one of the keys to victory by combining for 17 rebounds. We all know that Robinson is probably the best rebounder in the country, so nobody was surprised when he brought down nine of them. Withey, however, is usually goo for six boards a night, so a total of eight was a nice improvement.
Bill Self has definitely cemented himself as one of the greatest coaches around, if he hadn’t already made that certain yet. Without Self to guide this team, they don’t make it to the Final Four. It’s as simple as that. They’d still be a good team with Robinson, Taylor, and Withey; but they wouldn’t be this good.
Topics: Bill Self, Final Four, Harrison Barnes, James Michael McAdoo, Jeff Withey, John Henson, Kansas Jayhawks Basketball, Kendall Marshall, NCAA Tournament, Roy Williams, Stillman White, Thomas Robinson, Tyler Zeller, Tyshawn Taylor, UNC