“We all the time had a solution,” Braun said.
It was hard to assume a worse start for Villanova.
Kansas scored the primary 10 points, Villanova turned the ball over on 4 consecutive possessions and Agbaji was on fire, making his first 4 shots, all 3-pointers. When Agbaji sliced through the Villanova defense and dished to McCormack for a rim-rattling dunk, Kansas had thrust its result in 26-11 just a little greater than 10 minutes into the sport, prompting a timeout by Villanova.
“The rationale they were effective inside with their size was because they got us unfolded early with Agbaji hitting 3s and we weren’t capable of get off and assist in the post,” Coach Jay Wright said, adding that keeping Agbaji in check was a priority. “That may turn into an issue for us.”
That Agbaji would play such a central role was hard to see coming when he arrived in Lawrence five years ago. He was one among the higher players in Kansas City and a wonderful student, but he didn’t even start for his Amateur Athletic Union team, MoKan Elite, and so he got here to Lawrence as someone who the coaches hoped could be a superb teammate and grow right into a role player.
As a substitute, he has morphed into something far more — an athletic wing with a deadly jump shot who was the player of the 12 months within the Big 12, probably the most competitive conference within the country over the previous few seasons, and a first-team All-America.
“Obviously, my role has modified through the years,” Agbaji said. “I got here in only being a contributor, a man off the bench, after which I ended up earning my starting role. Because the years went by, my scoring was more needed on the teams after which this 12 months, obviously, simply to step up and be that man.”
Agbaji made just 2 of his first 15 3 pointers within the tournament before regaining his shooting touch within the Midwest regional final against Miami. Even when he was struggling, his confidence didn’t waver and he found other ways to contribute.
Agbaji on Saturday night was the fulcrum of a Kansas offense that whirled and cut, the sound of sneakers persistently squeaking on the Superdome floor because the ball zipped across the perimeter, relegating one among the nation’s most determined defenses to ball chasing.