KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Purdue coach Matt Painter stopped short of calling Kansas invincible last night.
Not by much.
After watching the top-seeded Jayhawks run roughshod over his overmatched Boilermakers in the Midwest Regional semi-finals, Painter was asked whether anybody can stop Kansas—a team that has won its first three NCAA Tournament games by an average of 30 points.
He hemmed and hawed a bit, and Painter warned the rest of the field to keep the Jayhawks from getting into transition.
Then he conceded: “If they keep getting those types of opportunities and shoot like that, they can't be stopped.”
Oregon will try to keep Kansas from the Final Four.
The Jayhawks' 98-66 victory over the Boilermakers was led by 26 points apiece from their dynamic backcourt of Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham.
They also were buoyed by a boisterous crowd packed inside the Sprint Center—a mere 40-minute drive from their campus in Lawrence.
It was the fourth-biggest blowout in Sweet 16 history, dating back to 1975.
It also was the third-straight game Kansas has scored at least 90 points—the first team to accomplish the feat in the NCAA Tournament since UConn in 1995.
And it was the most comprehensive performance of the year for the Jayhawks when judged by none other than their hard-to-please coach, Bill Self.
“The second half was about as complete as we've played,” he said.
Everyone thought the Boilermakers would be able to lean on centre Caleb Swanigan and 7'2" Isaac Haas to create a mismatch problem for Kansas.
But the Jayhawks, with their four-guard lineup, brashly turned up the tempo, wore the big fellas down, and rolled right on through to the Elite Eight.
“When the game is moving so fast, it's hard to take advantage of size opportunities,” Swanigan noted.
So if size doesn't seem to matter much against Kansas, maybe another guard-oriented team such as Oregon stands a better chance.
The third-seeded Ducks edged Michigan 69-68 last night to earn a date with the Jayhawks on Saturday night for a spot in the Final Four.
Other games last night saw 11th-seeded Xavier upset No. 2 Arizona 73-71 while top-seeded Gonzaga downed fourth-seeded West Virginia 61-58.