DES MOINES, Iowa -- Wayne Selden hit the first 3-point attempt for the Kansas Jayhawks two minutes into its 73-61 victory over the Connecticut Huskies at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.
Devonte' Graham sank the Jayhawks' second attempt from long range less than a minute later. Graham hit another -- it was the third attempt for KU -- two minutes after that to extend the lead to 10 points. Perry Ellis buried a 3 later in the half to push the lead to 22 points.
See a trend?
The Jayhawks, the No. 1 overall seed, are moving to the Sweet 16 for the first time in three years, set to play in the South Regional semifinal against Maryland or Hawaii next week in Louisville. And if Kansas shoots as it shot in building a 20-point halftime lead against UConn, there's probably no way to stop this Jayhawks train from advancing to Houston and the Final Four.
In its current 16-game winning streak, Kansas is shooting 41.5 percent from 3-point range. That's a tick down from the 42.6 percent rate at which the Jayhawks shot for the season entering the tournament, ranking it No. 2 nationally.
Really, with skilled post veterans Ellis and Landen Lucas, in addition to Jamari Traylor as an intimidating shot-blocker, it's not fair when Kansas connects consistently from the 3-point line.
But there's a flip side to this: Live by the 3, die by the 3. Kansas missed everything from long range in the second half. It got sloppy. And UConn cut the lead to nine points before Ellis (21 points) and Selden (22) took over in the paint, snapping the Huskies' seven-game NCAA tournament winning streak.
In Kansas' bad five-game stretch in January and a November loss to Michigan State, it shot 32.8 percent from 3 -- a sharp drop-off.
So a word to the wise for Kansas foes and fans next week: The formula works for the Jayhawks. When they shoot, they win.