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Mike Lopresti | NCAA.com | March 26, 2022

'We made them play poor, they made us play poor.' How Kansas used defense, rebounding and timely scoring to beat Providence

Kansas defeats Providence

CHICAGO — There is no such thing as an ugly win in the NCAA tournament. But this one might have been pushing the edge of the envelope.

Kansas shot 39 percent Friday night against Providence.

Kansas put up 14 attempts from behind the arc and made only two; none in the second half when the game was on the line.

Kansas struggled to get to 26 points by halftime.

Kansas missed four free throws in the final 92 seconds.

Kansas is one game from the Final Four.

How far can defense and rebounding and steel carry a team? If the Jayhawks don’t rekindle their offense, they’re about to find out. Plan B, apparently, is making the other guys play so badly, they can’t beat you.

HISTORY: Saint Peter's becomes first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to Elite Eight

“I certainly hope so because that’s how we’re playing right now,” Bill Self said after the Jayhawks grinded past Providence 66-61 and into the Midwest regional championship. “We made them play poor, they made us play poor. But when the other team can’t score, you’re not going to lose very often.”

At this moment, Kansas has an All-American in a scoring slump. Ochai Agbaji is shooting 33 percent in the NCAA tournament and had only five points Friday. There were enough Jayhawk problems on offense that Providence could shoot a liquid oxygen-like 20 percent in the first half, miss 12 of 13 from the 3-point line and three of five free throws, and be down only nine points at halftime. “That’s not a great sign,” Self told his team at halftime.

Is this any way to get to a Final Four? Well, it is if it works. Kansas is finding other ways to survive and advance — blowing a 13-point lead in the second half Friday and then yanking the game back, for instance. There were the 11 blocked shots and a 17-5 edge in second chance points. And when Kansas really needed a basket in the second half and the Friars were in a zone, Self ordered a lob play that Agbaji rammed home. Good call. “The guy’s in the Hall of Fame for a reason, right?” Providence coach Ed Cooley said afterward.

And maybe all the above starts with how the Jayhawks spent their winter, trying to stay near the top of a brutal Big 12.

“Considering that we come from the toughest conference in the country, we’ve seen games like this almost every single night.” Jalen Wilson said. “And I think we’re just so well-prepared for anything, especially them going up one late like that.

“We never get rattled.”

Really?

“I don’t know that I totally buy in 100 percent that we don’t ever get rattled,” Self said. “But I do think, as Jalen said, our league has prepared us in a way; we play so many close games. And every game is a fistfight.”

So maybe Providence got Big 12-ed Friday night. A team long on grit ran into an opponent that is made of the same stuff. Beauty, optional.

“If it gets ugly, it comes to defensive rebounding and playing like that. If we win like that every game, I’m tripping,” Wilson said. “Like coach said, if our offense is bad, we need to make them play worse than us.”

So Self didn’t see all the clanking Kansas shots in the first half as much as something else. “I think the first half was about as well as we can guard," he said.

And he doesn’t see Agbaji’s shooting woes. “Right now, I think he’s doing enough stuff to help us win, and we’ve had other guys step up," Self said. "So we don’t put too much emphasis on that at all.”

And he didn’t consider the second half dry spell that let Providence back in the game as anything shocking. “In sports, when things don’t go your way offensively and the other team has momentum and they’re playing with a freer mind coming back, I do think that sometimes that basket shrinks a little bit," he said. "And I think that did tonight.”

Matter of fact, he didn’t look long at any of those ugly figures. Nor did he even probably take much time to notice the number 2,354 — Kansas' all-time wins, which move it ahead of Kentucky for No. 1. He just saw 66-61. And another chance to play Sunday.

2022 March Madness schedule, livestream links

Click or tap on any of the games below to be taken directly to that live stream or box score.

GAMES TIME TV CITY Venue
National Championship — Monday, April 4
No. 1 Kansas 72, No. 8 North Carolina 69 9:20 p.m. TBS New Orleans, Louisiana Caesars Superdome
RESULTS TIME NETWORK CITY SITE
First Four — Tuesday, March 15
No. 16 Texas Southern 76, No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 67 6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
No. 12 Indiana 66, No. 12 Wyoming 58 9:10 p.m. truTV Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
First Four — Wednesday, March 16
No. 16 Wright State 93, No. 16 Bryant 82 6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
No. 11 Notre Dame 89, No. 11 Rutgers 87 9:10 p.m. truTV Dayton, Ohio UD Arena
First Round — Thursday, March 17
No. 11 Michigan 75, No. 6 Colorado State 63 12:15 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 4 Providence 66, No. 13 South Dakota State 57 12:40 p.m. truTV Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 9 Memphis 64, No. 8 Boise State 53 1:45 p.m. TNT Portland, Oregon Moda Center
No. 1 Baylor 85, No. 16 Norfolk State 49 2 p.m. TBS Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
No. 3 Tennessee 88, No. 14 Longwood 56 2:45 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 12 Richmond 67,  No. 5 Iowa 63 3:10 p.m. truTV Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 1 Gonzaga 93, No. 16 Georgia State 72 4:15 p.m. TNT Portland, Oregon Moda Center
No. 8 North Carolina 95, No. 9 Marquette 63 4:30 p.m. TBS Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
No. 12 New Mexico State 70, No. 5 UConn 63 6:50 p.m. TNT Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 15 Saint Peter's 85, No. 2 Kentucky 79 (OT) 7:10 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 5 Saint Mary's (CA) 82, No. 12 Indiana 53 7:20 p.m. TBS Portland, Oregon Moda Center
No. 9 Creighton 72, No. 8 San Diego State 69 (OT) 7:27 p.m. truTV Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
No. 4 Arkansas 75, No. 13 Vermont 71 9:20 p.m. TNT Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 7 Murray State 92, No. 10 San Francisco 87 (OT) 9:40 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 4 UCLA 57, No. 13 Akron 53 9:50 p.m. TBS Portland, Oregon Moda Center
No. 1 Kansas 83, No. 16 Texas Southern 56 9:57 p.m. truTV Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
First Round — Friday, March 18
No. 7 Ohio State 54, No. 10 Loyola Chicago 41  12:15 p.m. CBS Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 2 Auburn 80, No. 15 Jacksonville State 61 12:40 p.m. truTV Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 3 Texas Tech 97, No. 14 Montana State 62 1:45 p.m. TNT San Diego, California Viejas Arena
No. 3 Purdue 78, No. 14 Yale 56 2 p.m. TBS Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 2 Villanova 80, No. 15 Delaware 60 2:45 p.m. CBS Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 10 Miami (Fla.) 68, No. 7 No. 7 Southern California 66 3:10 p.m. truTV Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 11 Notre Dame 78, No. 6 Alabama 64 4:15 p.m. TNT San Diego, California Viejas Arena
No. 6 Texas 81, No. 11 Virginia Tech 73 4:30 p.m. TBS Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 4 Illinois 54, No. 13 Chattanooga 53 6:50 p.m. TNT Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 2 Duke 78, Cal State Fullerton 61 7:10 p.m. CBS Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 11 Iowa State 59, No. 6 LSU 54 7:20 p.m. TBS Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 1 Arizona 87, No. 16 Wright State 70 7:27 p.m. truTV San Diego, California Viejas Arena
No. 5 Houston 82, No. 12 UAB 68 9:20 p.m. TNT Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 7 Michigan State 74, No. 10 Davidson 73 9:40 p.m. CBS Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 3 Wisconsin 67, No. 14 Colgate 60 9:50 p.m. TBS Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 9 TCU 69, No. 8 Seton Hall 42 9:57 p.m. truTV San Diego, California Viejas Arena
Second Round — Saturday, March 19
No. 8 North Carolina 93, No. 1 Baylor 86 (OT) 12:10 p.m. CBS Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
No. 1 Kansas 79, No. 9 Creighton 72 2:40 p.m. CBS Fort Worth, Texas Dickies Arena
No. 11 Michigan 76, No. 3 Tennessee 68 5:15 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 4 Providence 79, No. 12 Richmond 51 6:10 p.m. TNT Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 4 UCLA 72, No. 5 Saint Mary's 56 7:10 p.m. TBS Portland, Oregon Moda Center
No. 15 Saint Peter's 70, No. 7 Murray State 60 7:45 p.m. CBS Indianapolis, Indiana Gainbridge Fieldhouse
No. 4 Arkansas 53, No. 12 New Mexico State 48 8:40 p.m. TNT Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center
No. 1 Gonzaga 82, No. 9 Memphis 78 9:40 p.m. TBS Portland, Oregon Moda Center
Second Round — Sunday, March 20
No. 5 Houston 68, No. 4 Illinois 53 12:10 p.m. CBS Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 2 Villanova 71, No. 7 Ohio State 61 2:40 p.m. CBS Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena
No. 2 Duke 85, No. 7 Michigan State 76 5:15 p.m. CBS Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 11 Iowa State 54, No. 3 Wisconsin 49 6:10 p.m. TNT Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 3 Texas Tech 59, No. 11 Notre Dame 53 7:10 p.m. TBS San Diego, California Viejas Arena
No. 10 Miami (Fla.) 79, No. 2 Auburn 61 7:45 p.m. truTV Greenville, South Carolina Bon Secours Wellness Arena
No. 3 Purdue 81, No. 6 Texas 71 8:40 p.m. TNT Milwaukee, Wisconsin Fiserv Forum
No. 1 Arizona 85, No. 9 TCU 80 (OT) 9:40 p.m. TBS San Diego, California Viejas Arena
Sweet 16 — Thursday, March 24
No. 4 Arkansas 74, No. 1 Gonzaga 68 7:09 p.m. CBS San Francisco, California Chase Center
No. 2 Villanova 63, No. 11 Michigan 55 7:29 p.m. TBS San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center
No. 2 Duke 78, No. 3 Texas Tech 73 9:39 p.m. CBS San Francisco, California Chase Center
No. 5 Houston 72, No. 1 Arizona 60 9:59 p.m. TBS San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center
Sweet 16 — Friday, March 25
No. 15 Saint Peter's 67, No. 3 Purdue 64 7:09 p.m. CBS Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
No. 1 Kansas 66, No. 4 Providence 61 7:29 p.m. TBS Chicago, Illinois United Center
No. 8 North Carolina 73, No. 4 UCLA 66 9:39 p.m. CBS Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
No. 10 Miami (Fla.) 70, No. 11 Iowa State 56 9:59 p.m. TBS Chicago, Illinois United Center
Elite Eight —  Saturday, March 26
No. 2 Villanova 50, No. 5 Houston 44 6:09 p.m. TBS San Antonio, Texas AT&T Center
No. 2 Duke 78, No. 4 Arkansas 69 8:49 p.m. TBS San Francisco, California Chase Center
Elite Eight — Sunday, March 27
No. 1 Kansas 76, No. 10 Miami (Fla.) 50 2:20 p.m. CBS Chicago, Illinois United Center
No. 8 North Carolina 69, No. 15 Saint Peter's 49 5:05 p.m. CBS Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center
Final Four — Saturday, April 2
No. 1 Kansas 81, No. 2 Villanova 65 6:09 p.m. TBS New Orleans, Louisiana Caesars Superdome
No. 8 North Carolina 81, No. 2 Duke 77 8:49 p.m. TBS New Orleans, Louisiana Caesars Superdome

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