V-RECAP | Final Four | Saturday, April 5
Syracuse tops Texas, Boeheim eyes title
(West No. 2) KANSAS 94, (Midwest No. 3) MARQUETTE 61
Run, baby, run! The Jayhawks had their transition game in gear right out of the gate in the first national semifinal Saturday. They dominated in every phase of the game. Super soph Keith Langford was absolutely sensational. His explosiveness and ability to get out on the break set the tone. Langford was the star of stars for Kansas, scoring 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
But he obviously had lots of support, with five Jayhawks in double figures. The senior tandem of Nick Collison (12 points, 15 rebounds) and Kirk Hinrich (18 points) were tough on the inside and on the perimeter, respectively. Aaron Miles (18 points) did a great job defensively on Marquette point guard Travis Diener. Kansas guard Michael Lee scored 13 points. What a brilliant game for Kansas!
You have to feel bad for Marquette, which ended its great season and a terrific tournament run with the biggest deficit in Final Four history since 1979, when Magic Johnson and Michigan State beat Penn by 34, 101-67. Coach Tom Crean's Golden Eagles never could get untracked. And when the tempo became so high-paced, which favored Kansas, they had no shot.
This wasn't the same Marquette team that held Kentucky to 39.1 percent shooting in its Elite Eight showdown last Saturday. Kansas shot 66 percent from the floor in the first half.
Marquette had a fantastic season, though. Who would have ever thought it would reach the Final Four with the road it faced? It defeated the No. 2 seed, Pittsburgh, and then No. 1 seed Kentucky, a team that had won 26 straight games. All the so-called experts thought Kentucky would be heading to New Orleans, but you couldn't tell that to the kids from Marquette. Crean is one of the nation's best up-and-coming coaches, and junior superstar Dwyane Wade is clearly one of the best ever to wear a Marquette uniform.
The bottom line in this game is that the Jayhawks relied on their senior leadership and winning experience from being in the Final Four last year (when they lost to eventual national champion Maryland). The Jayhawks' focus was superb. How much of a distraction was the vacant North Carolina job? Forget about trying to distract coach Roy Williams and his Jayhawks.
Now Kansas will play for the national title Monday night. Once before, Williams coached the Jayhawks in the national championship game -- in 1991, when they lost 72-65 to Duke. Will this be the year Williams takes that elusive gold trophy home to Lawrence, Kansas, to chants of "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk"?