Kansas Zone Attack Leads Jayhawks to Final 4 by Chris Filios
The Kansas zone attack powered the Kansas Jayhawks to the Final Four after defeating the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday 85-81, in overtime. This will be their first trip to the Final Four since 2012. Kansas will be returning the site of their last championship in 2008, San Antonio.
The Kansas zone attack was able to expose the extreme length and athleticism of the Duke zone in a number of ways:
17 offensive rebounds (44% of their misses).
14 made 3-point shots
Got the ball to the middle of the zone
Behind that, a stingy defense, and a career-high 32 points from guard Malik Newman, the Jayhawks are moving on. Newman who has really come late in the season scored all 13 points in the OT for Kansas.
There have been a lot of good teams at Kansas during Bill Self’s tenure that has not made it to the Final Four. This year’s team is certainly the most improbable of his teams to make it. They are not loaded with NBA talent and are extremely short on depth and size, often playing four guards for the majority of the game. This may have been Self’s best coaching job to date. While many thought this would be the year that someone knocked them off their Big 12 championship pedestal, Self went about recreating their offensive blueprint to fit the talent they have. Self’s team, traditionally loaded with talent in the front court and playing a hi-lo motion offense, has had to adapt and move to a spread pick and roll offense predicated on stretching the defense to allow guard penetration.
Kansas will be taking on the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday in a clash of teams heavy with experienced guard talent.