Kansas looks to keep rolling in Elite Eight vs. Oregon

"Frank Mason has had the best college season of anybody I've been around by far", Self said.

The Jayhawks have played some of their most bracing offense through three NCAA tournament outings, calling to mind a strikingly similar spree that carried Villanova to a national championship last spring.

The Boilermakers, meanwhile, shot only 31 percent from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the second half. Purdue had such a season in 2010 until things fell apart.

Is a win of this magnitude against a team like Purdue the biggest win put upon a top-15-or so team all season?

But with the same contagious impact on their teammates - and a maddeningly complementary presence for anyone up against Kansas, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region. "I've played in big moments my whole life and I've wanted to be in big moments my whole life".

All of the above were accomplished, and yet, it was hard to reconcile so many successes against such a resolution. Such is life when you're small and proving yourself is a process that in basketball starts very early and never really stops. They're the teams with the most excruciating fates, at least to hear Kansas Coach Bill Self tell it.

It's an inauspicious trend for OR, which on Saturday must attempt to stifle a hyper-effectual No. 1 seed that is following a championship formula fresh in everyone's minds. That led to a fast-break dunk for Kansas.

Purdue's defense improved but remained vulnerable to occasional flare-ups.

"I think they go flawless together ..."

Kansas has senior leadership at the point guard position with Mason, who is looking a lot like Kemba Walker did for UConn in 2011.

"They've both been really good, but, you know, sometimes when you talk about Frank (and Jackson) you don't give Devonte' his due", Self said prior to the Jayhawks' Thursday night matchup with No. 4 seed Purdue in Kansas City. "That's going to make it fun". His athleticism and shot-making can be staggering at times.

Jordan Mathews' go-ahead 3-pointer propels Gonzaga into the Elite Eight
And, amazingly, Williams-Goss comes up huge on defense after putting up one of the worst games of his season. The Mountaineers shot 16 of 60 (26.7 percent) from the floor and missed 18 of 23 3-point attempts.

"I think it would be great if he got it (19 boards) this game (but) no pressure", Shelley said. "I asked him (Richard) last night, 'Do you feel like you ought to wear a T-shirt that's half OR and half KU?' He said, 'Absolutely not".

Several players took the Velcro nameplates off their lockers and packed NCAA Tournament signs into their bags, the final pieces from a loss they can't wait to forget and a season they'll always remember.

"But they go so well together", Lucas said. Haas previously said he didn't plan to go through the National Basketball Association evaluations unless he was planning to leave. He and Mason have complemented each other's games for awhile now.

"I love the (hostile) atmosphere", Dillon Brooks said.

One more game like that and Kansas will be headed back to the Final Four for the first time since 2012 and third time under Self.

The Jayhawks have been tested by the Big Ten's Michigan State Spartans and Purdue Boilermakers in the first half of each of their last two games before blowing both of them out. The extra attention did yield a couple of steals from the helping defender. To get all the way to Phoenix without even a hint of drama would be, for the Jayhawks, a most uncharacteristic thing. "The reality of it is, if kids didn't care an bad lot they wouldn't be in this game. Just watching that entire Pacers lineup that I knew by heart and seeing him here, it means a lot". Arizona ends the season 32-and-5.

It worked there for a minute. The score was 36-36 with about four minutes to play in the first half.

It's listed as a neutral-site game, but Sprint Center is less than an hour from Allen Fieldhouse - the home of the Jayhawks - and the majority of the 18,972 in attendance likely will be clad in crimson and blue. They're the four teams that lose each March in the Elite Eight, which doubles as the aching doorstep of the Final Four. If he missed - especially considering that the game was still close - he'd never live it down.

"As a competitor, you like that", Purdue junior captain P.J. Thompson said of playing in a packed yet partisan venue. Now they face the daunting full-court press of Bob Huggins and West Virginia.

"We are extra motivated to play and to win this game, and we've got every reason to be".

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