Malik Newman: Goes off for 32 points against Duke

Malik Newman: Goes off for 32 points against Duke

Kansas Coach Bill Self, whose reddened reaction upon the final horn hinted at apparent demon-banishment, called it "a big-boy game" and "two blue bloods that'll beat each other's heads in" and "a heavyweight fight" and "the second-best win that we've ever had", after only the 2008 title game against Memphis. As his Blue Devils lost to the Jayhawks, ending his college career, the Internet filled with schadenfreude, as well as the obligatory Ted Cruz references.

Grayson Allen pump fakes on every shot.

"There's a lot of joy, a lot of happiness, when I look back, a lot of growth", Allen said at his locker. The redshirt-sophomore connected on a 3-pointer less than a minute into the overtime to hand KU a one-point lead, 75-74.

"This doesn't feel real", Newman, a Mississippi State transfer, said as he tugged on his goatee. "But I think it was Wendell [Carter Jr.] who just gapped it, so I just shot the ball and it went in". And at last, the heavy majority that yearned for Kansas will know their team surmounted a big heap of hard stuff, because it whistled boldly through the corridor of its goblins and haunts, the Elite Eight, and its 85-81 overtime win signaled it could withstand both that and the constellation of stars at Duke.

Because of that, Kansas might be feeling like it is already playing with house money - even before its game Saturday against favored Villanova is played. He's a national champion.

Kansas faces Villanova in the Final Four at 8:49 p.m. on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Newman, though, made the most big shots. There's been so many weird things happen in the tournament this year.

"Nova followed up that title by losing in last year's round of 32, despite being most folks" favorite to repeat.

Bill Self is a genius, Malik Newman is a revelation, Svi Mykhailiuk outplayed the potential No. 1 pick and this astounding Kansas team is somehow, some way heading to the program's 15th Final Four. "So that means that these guys have done so well to put us in a position but we hadn't kicked the door in yet". You know, they've gotten better throughout, and they played winning basketball today.

Duke for a spot in the Final Four was the outlier. Marcus Garrett is the only freshman on the Kansas roster that has played the entire season - Silvio De Sousa joined in December - as Bill Self has chose to go the transfer route this year, and neither of them are ready to bounce to the National Basketball Association.

The first week of the season, Kansas learned that five-star recruit Billy Preston would be unable to play while the school investigated the ownership of his vehicle.

In four NCAA games, Newman is averaging 21.8 points.

The Jayhawks, though, persevered, winning the Big 12 regular-season title by two games before capturing the conference tournament title without Azubuike. Oddsmakers made KU a three-point underdog.

NCAA Tournament: Kansas State delivers another upset, this time over Kentucky
Whether it was to Charlotte or even now, Atlanta , for two fans, a father and son, they've just been enjoying the ride together. Kentucky coach John Calipari told ESPNthat Kansas State was busy celebrating on the court when he went to go shake their hands.

I could go on and on about games that fit this narrative, but it would only get boring. "By the time we wanted to be hungry, it was too late". Despite being 3 inches shorter than Bagley, Mykhailiuk matched him in rebounds with 10. They were thumped by Washington and Arizona State in games that revealed their many flaws.

And you think about it, hey, in their careers all we've been is the number one overall seed, the number two overall seed and the number three overall seed and haven't gotten to a Final Four. Newman is the ideal complementary scorer. Kansas is 31-7 on the season and Villanova is 34-4. Lagerald Vick took an entry pass in the lane and found Newman setting up for the shot.

The main point: The NCAA Tournament is often a crapshoot. [For a while] he was trying to play mistake-free basketball, and everyone knows that's not possible.

Newman's performance against Duke was clearly his masterpiece.

So, Kansas outrebounded Duke 24-18 in the first half, getting ahold of 63 percent of Duke's misses.

Allen had 12 points for the Blue Devils, but the senior's try at the regulation buzzer went in and then out and then off the rim before spinning away to force overtime. With the clock showing less than a second left in regulation, the ball teasingly bounced off the backboard, hit the front of the rim, bounced off the backboard and rim once more - and swirled out to the right.

"It came really close to going in", Allen said. "A lot of them". He scored 28 against Seton Hall, 17 against Clemson and scored all 13 of the Jayhawks' overtime points against the Blue Devils.

"He's built for that moment", Horatio said. "I'm over here sweating, and he's just, 'Next play, next play, next play'".

Newman, a 6-3 guard with a soft touch and dazzling handles, began his career with Mississippi State but chose to transfer after one season. "I thought our traps were at least somewhat effective when he caught it". "I stopped thinking and started playing". Four free throws from Allen handed his team a 3-point advantage with under a minute to play; however, Mykhailiuk's 3-pointer, and subsequent KU defensive stop on Duke's final possession would send the game to overtime, where the Jayhawks ultimately prevailed. Johnson was in attendance Sunday.

It wasn't just the Jayhawks who won Sunday. His 3 from the corner early in overtime gave the Jayhawks momentum - before a mostly Kansas crowd - they never relinquished.

But chuck it like he did on Sunday night and he in fact becomes the hero. What was going through your mind then?

"Everybody told me to keep shooting", Mykhailiuk said.

Jason King is a senior writer for B/R. Does it rank in the top five?