WICHITA, Kan. — Svi Mykhailiuk feels your pain.
Wait. Let’s try that again.
Svi Mykhailiuk understands your pain, Nebraska fans.
“Yeah, some people were saying [on social media], they said, ‘You know, you kept Nebraska from making the NCAA Tournament,” Mykhailiuk, the senior Kansas sharpshooter, told Land of 10 Friday as the Jayhawks, the top seed in the Midwest Regional, prepared for a second-round matchup with Seton Hall on Saturday night.
“I said, ‘Man, I didn’t know that. I’m sorry.’”
Oh, he knows now.
Does he ever.
Everybody has Nebraska out and I just wonder what the convo would be if they had won that game against KU
Did Svi’s 3 cost them a bid?
— kevbo9, bracket filler outer (@kevbo9) March 2, 2018
Nebraska lost to the outright and conference champ by 1 on a dagger 3. Crazy that if Svi missed that 3 Nebraska would be comfortably in. Nebraska would be .500 in B12 this year.
— Andrew Cecava (@acecava) March 11, 2018
Not that Cornhuskers faithful need reminding, but it was the Jayhawks’ Ukrainian wing guard who dropped one of the biggest — and most painful — daggers into the heart of one of the better teams in Nebraska basketball history.
The 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 23 seconds left to help Kansas, ranked No. 13 at the time, pull off a 73-72 escape over Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena back on Dec. 16.
The Huskers (22-11) wouldn’t lose another home game the rest of the season and wound up a surprising fifth in the Big Ten, winning a program-record 13 league games in the process.
But the NCAA Tournament selection committee was less enthused with the Big Red’s resume, largely because of a lack of Quadrant 1 wins — victories over an RPI top 30 team at home, over an RPI top 50 team on a neutral site, or over a top 75 RPI team on the road.
On Selection Sunday, Nebraska had only one such victory on its résumé, a home thrashing of Michigan, which ranked No. 11 in RPI rank as of late Friday afternoon. A win over Kansas — RPI: 5 — would’ve made it two victories, and given the Huskers wins over two eventual Power 5 champions: the Wolverines won the 2018 Big Ten Tournament, while the Jayhawks won both the Big 12 regular season and league tourney titles.
So, yeah, Svi. Big shot, man. Huge.
Svi Mykhailiuk vs Nebraska
14 points (6-16 FG) (2 3’s)
3 rebounds 3 assists pic.twitter.com/3eSr3EvQeT
— Jayhawk Video (@JayhawkVideo) December 22, 2017
“It is what it is. I did whatever it took to make my team win,” said Mykhailiuk, who’d actually turned in one of his poorer shooting days against a good Huskers defense, misfiring on 10 of 16 attempts from the floor in Lincoln.
“I remember it, but I mean, I never thought that that was going to be the shot that was going to take them from the [NCAA] Tournament. I don’t really think that [it was] my shot, but you know what happened.”
Dang right, we do. Despite the contention of Creighton athletic director and NCAA Tournament selection committee chair Bruce Rasmussen that Nebraska was “one of the last teams we eliminated” from consideration for the Big Dance, the National Invitation Tournament folks weren’t quite on the same page.
The NIT added injury to insult by slotting the Big Red as a No. 5 seed in the 32-team field and assigning them a road test in the opening round with a visit to No. 4 seed Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs ended Nebraska’s season in Starkville, Miss., with a 66-59 double-overtime setback on Wednesday night — the Big Red’s fifth straight postseason defeat this decade.
“Some people just tagged me [on Twitter], saying I kept [Nebraska] from the Dance,” the Kansas guard said. “Just a couple friends. They told me because they’d read it somewhere on Twitter or something.”
They probably found a few somethings, now that you mention it.
Nebraska w a top 35 Strength-of-Record, meaning #Huskers generally win ones they're supposed to win. NU 16-1 at home, only final ticks 3 by Svi M of KU to drop 73-72. Only #B1G team to not lose a conference home gm. NU's performed well since 1st month w 6 wins away from PBA. GBR!
— Lamont Epp (@lrepp33) February 26, 2018
Svi Mykhailiuk is no longer aloud to enter the state of Nebraska…just wanted to let him know that… #GBR
— Polk Malone (@PolkNation4Life) February 17, 2018
Svi Mykhailiuk hears your pain, Nebraska fans.
Sympathy? Well …
“I mean, I’m sorry,” Mykhailiuk said with a shrug. “But what else can I say?”
In March, actions speak louder than words.
And killer shots speak louder than both.