NEW ORLEANS, La. (KSNW) — The KU Jayhawks are heading to the national championship game.
The last time the Jayhawks saw the Villanova Wildcats in the Final Four was in 2018, and the Wildcats saw victory.
The Jayhawks enacted their revenge on Saturday, beating the Wildcats 81-65 to advance to the National Championship game on Monday.
David McCormack was the x-factor in the game, finishing with 25 points and nine rebounds. Ochai Agbaji tacked on 21 of his own, and Jalen Wilson had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
From the onset of the game, the Jayhawks were hot. They started the game on a 10-0 run, with Agbaji fueling that run with two makes from beyond the arc. He finished the half with 12 points, all of his scoring came from deep.
As a team, the Jayhawks were shooting 68% from the field, and a blistering 70% from deep. At halftime, they had hit from beyond the arc seven times.
Villanova, on the other hand, struggled with the Kansas defense all night, but they felt it the most in the first half, shooting just 38% from the first.
McCormack had a noticeable size margin on almost the entire Villanova lineup, and Bill Self exploited that mismatch significantly in the first half. He had 13 in the first half, all from points in the paint and free throws.
Halfway through the first half, the Jayhawks held a 19-8 lead. By the time the two teams headed to the locker room, Kansas would hold a 40-29 lead.
Villanova would make a slight comeback in the second half, and cut the lead to six, but they could not sustain any kind of offensive momentum. They finished the game shooting 38.6% from the field and 42% from three.
One thing the Jayhawks missed for most of the night was production from Christian Braun. Some say he seemed off for most of the night, and with less than five minutes to go in the game, had just four points on 2-of-6 shooting.
He showed up when needed, though. He splashed a three from the corner with 3:55 left to cut off any kind of comeback bid by Villanova, and an off-balance dagger with 2:45 left put the nail in the coffin for the Wildcats.
With the win tonight, Kansas will head to the National Championship for the first time since 2012, when they lost to the Wildcats, 67-59.
Ironically, that last game was also played in New Orleans on April 2.
The Jayhawks will play the winner of North Carolina and Duke on Monday night.