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The National Championship Mauling: 4.4.2022

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Joe’s Crematorium: you kill ‘em, we grill ‘em

Villanova v Kansas Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Bill Self says Ochai Agbaji can enter rare air with a KU win on Monday night
Self has coached plenty of talented players during his time at KU and plenty of his players have had accolade-filled years. Mario Chalmers was a national champion and the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, along with First Team All Big 12 honors. But he was never a First Team All American or the Big 12 Player of the Year. Frank Mason was the National Player of the Year, Big 12 Player of the Year and a First Team All American, but he didn’t win it all. The same goes for Devonte Graham.

Three schools are prioritizing four-star guard Chris Johnson
After releasing a top seven list in November, four-star guard Chris Johnson re-opened his recruitment in February. Now that the spring season has kicked off, Johnson mainly is focused on proving his value at both guard spots.

"I am looking to show coaches I am more of a combo guard than a shooting guard," Johnson said. "I want coaches to recruit me for what I am doing now on the court."

Bill Self, KU players discuss challenge of guarding UNC's Brady Manek
"I think Brady has obviously been unbelievable," Self said. "Playing him at OU, you had to defend him probably a little more at the post. And now obviously with Mando in the game he's playing primarily on the perimeter."

NCAA Tournament 2022: Bill Self, Kansas basketball players embrace UNC matchup in national championship game
"I think it does have added value to me and the players because there's no guarantees in this tournament," Self said Saturday. "A lot of times the favorites don't win, obviously. But in '20 we had a team that was equipped to make a run. We were so good defensively. And we had enough scoring. I thought that was probably as prepared a team to do well in the tournament as any we've had. And I think that even though we haven't really talked about it like this, but these guys really haven't tasted what the NCAA Tournament is all about, even though we had a great team in '20. So I think there's been added value put on this one because of what we missed out on in '20."

Final Four: Hubert Davis previews Kansas ahead of North Carolina national championship appearance
"On film, they appear to be the fastest transition team that I've seen this year, whether it's on made or missed baskets, they sprint to offense," Davis said Sunday. "And so it's really important for us that our transition defense -- we always have an end game. And our end game in transition defense is no layups or dunks, no pitch-ahead lace-up 3s, make them make two passes or more so the defense can get set. We'll have to do that tomorrow night."

Final Four: Hubert Davis updates Armando Bacot injury status ahead of North Carolina versus Kansas
"He's going to practice today. But our practice is going to be very limited," Davis said. "Even if he didn't twist his ankle, it's going to be limited. They did X-rays and they were all negative. Obviously he's a little sore. But he was walking around and feeling good and was very encouraged with the amount of swelling from his ankle sprain. And he's ready to play tomorrow night.

NBA Draft 'Winners and Losers' from the 2022 Final Four
It was an epic night of college basketball in New Orleans. Kansas took out Villanova and North Carolina and Duke delivered a thriller in their first time meeting in the NCAA Tournament.

'This is what I do': Ochai Agbaji makes statement with 20-point performance in Final Four
NEW ORLEANS, La. — Ochai Agbaji wanted the ball but Dajuan Harris didn’t see him. KU’s point guard instead passed the ball to the top of the key where Jalen Wilson waited. Wilson looked into Mitch Lightfoot in the paint but quickly realized that the First Team All American was open on the wing. Wilson got Agbaji the ball and the senior immediately rose up and shot the ball over a slow closeout from Eric Dixon.

David McCormack ‘raises the roof’ to push Kansas past Villanova
“Once the first fell and the second fell, I knew I could just kind of dominate the game inside,” McCormack said. “And it opened up shot opportunities for my teammates to know that way I could get a couple of assists and get more baskets for myself.”

Final Four 2022: Bill Self calls Kansas' win against Villanova a 'reversal' of 2018 meeting
Fueled by 20+ point performances from Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack, the Jayhawks were able to build sizable early edge and continually found ways to respond when it appeared as if Villanova was getting itself back into the contest. A game in which Kansas once led by as many as 19 points was cut to just six points down the stretch in the second half, but a 10-point, second-half performance by Christian Braun helped thwart any comeback effort by Jay Wright and Co.

Armando Bacot (ankle) 'ready to play' for North Carolina Tar Heels in men's basketball title game
Bacot is the most difficult player for UNC to replace if he's limited. He's the program's leading scorer (16.3 PPG) and rebounder (13.1 RPG), and his rebounding total ranks No. 3 in the country. He ranks No. 8 in defensive rebound percentage (30.2%) and No. 21 in offensive rebound percentage (14.9%), per KenPom.com.

Men's national championship predictions, players to watch and other key storylines for Kansas vs. North Carolina
Two celebrated men's college basketball programs will compete for the right to add another banner to the home rafters on Monday night. The No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks and No. 8 seed North Carolina Tar Heels will meet for the NCAA Division I men's basketball national championship at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, looking to cap a magical run with one more win.