Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

NCAAB

Top-seeded Kansas takes on Friars nail-biting success

Top-seeded Kansas takes on Friars nail-biting success

Ousted in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, top-seeded repelled multiple charges from Creighton on Saturday to reject any chances of a repeat disappointment.

“There was just those possessions that we knew we had to get, even late in the stretch, whether it was a rebound or executing a play, just to break away from getting in that range of them being close,” said the Jayhawks’ Ochai Agbaji, who Monday was named as one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy.

Next up in Friday night’s Midwest regional semifinal in Chicago is a foe that knows something about nailbiters. Kansas (30-6) gets fourth-seeded (27-5), which has won 16 games by single digits, including 11 by five or fewer points.

Kansas ultimately pulled away from ninth-seeded Creighton, 79-72, to reach the 32nd Sweet 16 in program history.

Credit the latest resurgent performance by point guard Remy Martin.

A transfer from Arizona State, Martin worked through knee soreness and inconsistency during the regular season before sparkling down the stretch. He scored 20 points against Creighton after a 15-point effort in the Jayhawks’ tournament-opening rout of Texas Southern, the first two times Martin led the team in scoring this season.

That distinction typically has been the domain of backcourt mate Agbaji, the Big 12 Player of the Year whose 19.3 points a game pace Kansas.

“Now for him to step up like this is huge,” Kansas’ Jalen Wilson said of Martin. “He makes our team go farther than what we could without him.”

Providence earned the program’s first trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 25 years by routing 12th-seeded Richmond 79-51 Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Balance again boosted the Friars, who had five players in double-figure scoring. Noah Horchler notched a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Al Durham followed with 13 points.

“That was as well as we’ve played all year, and we picked the right time to do it,” said Big East coach of the year Ed Cooley, in his 11th season at Providence. “I think we clicked at every level. I think we played with a sense of urgency and a sense of purpose.”

Cooley and Co. realize they’ll need to channel those skills and intangibles anew against Kansas, although a breakthrough in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament instills the Friars with plenty of good vibes.

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence,” Cooley said. “Obviously, we’re going to play against a blue blood that had a really, really hard game (Saturday) against a Big East opponent, so I’m pretty sure that we’ll be well scouted as they will. It just tells you you’re building the program the right way. You are doing it with men of high integrity and great character, and it should be a great game.”

Kansas handled a Creighton team, after all, that thumped Providence 85-58 in the Big East tournament on March 11. Two weeks earlier, the Friars had drilled Creighton by 21 points (72-51).

Despite those inconsistencies and seemingly constant questioning about when its luck might run out, Providence has rallied behind an experienced core. Only one underclassman, sophomore Alyn Breed, is among Cooley’s usual nine-player rotation.

“We’re dangerous when we’re hitting from all cylinders inside and out,” the Friars’ A.J. Reeves said. “We have a lot of threats on this team both on the offensive end and on the defensive end, and when we play like this, I feel like we’re the best team in the country.”

Friday marks the first meeting between the Jayhawks and Friars.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

PlayAction Podcast

PlayAction Pod | SGPN’s $500 NBA Finals Prop Contest

NBA

Terrell Furman Jr. from SGPN’s NBA Gambling Podcast joins the show to preview the NBA Finals. We break down each question in SGPN’s $500 NBA Finals...

PlayAction Pod | Talking NFL Draft With OddsChecker
PlayAction Pod | Talking NFL Draft With OddsChecker

NFL

OddsChecker’s NFL Draft Props Contest  Completely free to enter. Just click the link, sign up, and answer all the questions. Whoever gets the most...

PlayAction Pod | Talking Final Four With Screen The Screener
PlayAction Pod | Talking Final Four With Screen The Screener

March Madness

Gus Kearns of the Screen The Screener Podcast joins the show to break down this weekend’s Final Four.     0:00 Intro 0:35 Gus talks...

PlayAction Pod | Talking March Madness With Quarter4
PlayAction Pod | Talking March Madness With Quarter4

March Madness

Danijela Covic, Co-Founder and CSO of Quarter4.io, joins the show to talk about the predictive data Quarter4 is making available to PlayAction users during...

PlayAction Pod | Talking Longhorn Hoops With InsideTexas
PlayAction Pod | Talking Longhorn Hoops With InsideTexas

March Madness

Joe Cook of InsideTexas.com joins the show to talk Longhorn Hoops.   0:00 Intro 0:49 What were the expectations for Texas coming into Chris...

PlayAction Pod | Talking Ohio State Hoops With BuckeyeScoop
PlayAction Pod | Talking Ohio State Hoops With BuckeyeScoop

March Madness

Tony Gerdeman of BuckeyeScoop.com joins the show to talk Ohio State Basketball in advance of March Madness

PlayAction Pod | Talking Houston Hoops With Kris Gardner
PlayAction Pod | Talking Houston Hoops With Kris Gardner

March Madness

Kris Gardner of The Houston Roundball Review – TheHRR.com – joins the show to talk about the Houston Cougars, their season so far and...

PlayAction Pod | Talking Arizona Hoops With AllSportsTucson
PlayAction Pod | Talking Arizona Hoops With AllSportsTucson

March Madness

Steve Rivera of AllSportsTucson joins the show to talk about #2 Arizona.

PlayAction Pod | Talking Baylor Hoops With SicEm365
PlayAction Pod | Talking Baylor Hoops With SicEm365

March Madness

Paul Catalina of SicEm365.com joins the show to talk Baylor Bears Hoops. 0:00 Intro 0:33 Catalina talks about Baylor expectations coming into the season...