The Jayhawks have the opportunity to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2012. Standing in their path? One of the hottest teams in college basketball. What does Kansas need to do to cool off Villanova?
The No. 2-seeded Villanova Wildcats are a very touch matchup for any team. Coming off of their 92-69 thrashing of the third-seeded Miami Hurricanes, the Wildcats are at the top of their game.
According to KenPom, this contest is almost a coin flip. Kansas is #1 in KenPom, and Villanova is right behind them at #2. The prediction is currently 74-73 Kansas with 50/50 odds.
This game should be fantastic for people with no rooting interests. But if you have a dog in the fight, chances are it’ll be too nerve-wracking to enjoy it fully. Think about the Kansas-Oklahoma triple overtime game. Most casual college basketball fans loved the game, while Oklahoma and Kansas diehards were banking their happiness on every shot.
The Wildcats’ strength is their balanced offense. Four starters scored in double figures in their dominant blowout of Miami, with guard Ryan Arcidiacono and forward Kris Jenkins scoring 21 points each.
The Wildcats shot 63% from the field, 66% from three, and went 18/19 from the free throw line against Miami. This could be a problem if Villanova gets the Kansas bigs into foul trouble and continue to covert at the stripe. Devonte’ Graham will have his hands full guarding Arcidiacono, but we’ve seen him handle guards of this caliber already this season, so the Jayhawks should be confident in his ability.
Perry Ellis should continue his outstanding play against any team in the tournament. He is one of the most consistent players in college basketball, and this tournament run is almost a coming out party for him nationally.
Villanova has been cruising so far this tournament, but the Jayhawks are by far their toughest competition yet.
The Jayhawks are the #1 seed and are playing like it. Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden are having great tournaments, and if the team continues to play like they have, it’s hard to see them getting beat.
However, all it takes is one game in March Madness to break the hearts of even the best team in the country. Kansas needs to continue playing at the top of its game. If they continue to do this, they’ll find themselves in the Final Four with a chance at a national championship.