Game 11: No. 1 Kansas at No. 18 Villanova – Preview and Prediction

College basketball has a new number one. The Jayhawks were voted No. 1 in this week’s AP poll as well as the coaches poll, making them the undisputed top team in the country. However, that new ranking will be put to the test immediately as Kansas travel to the east coast to take on recent rival Villanova.

  • Saturday, December 21, 2019, 11:00 am CDT
  • Wells Fargo Arena — Philadelphia, Pa.
  • FOX or FOX Sports Go App.
  • No. 1 Kansas takes a nine-game winning streak into its Dec. 21 battle against Villanova at Wells Fargo Arena in the City of Brotherly Love.
  • Last time Kansas played in Wells Fargo Arena, they took a 77-52 loss against Temple on December 22nd, 2014.
  • Kansas is ranked No. 1 for the first time this year. This is the first time they’ve been ranked No. 1 since right before Christmas last year, when they lost to Arizona State in a game that was also No. 1 vs. No. 18.
  • Kansas is 4-4 all-time against Villanova. KU won last year’s matchup in Allen Fieldhouse, but we all remember the tournament losses.
  • The last time KU played Villanova on the road, the Wildcats took home an 83-62 victory all the way back in January of 2005.
  • According to KenPom, Kansas is 6th in defensive efficiency with a score of 87.2. They’re also 11th in offensive efficiency. There are only two teams rank higher in each category; Duke (3rd and 9th) and Ohio State (4th and 10th)

Wildcats to Watch

Saddiq Bey – Sophomore, Forward, 6’8″
Bey is a long, athletic, and skilled forward for Villanova. He averages 16.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds a game, and 2.3 assists. Bey shoots 54% from the field, 44% from three, and 84% from the free-throw line. As you can see there isn’t an apparent weakness in his game. He can shoot, score, rebound, and pass; all at high levels. Marcus Garrett is the obvious choice to get this defensive assignment. One I think he’ll do well with.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl – Freshman, Forward, 6’9”
We all know the story. Robinson-Earl looks like a lock to commit to KU for months, only to switch late and end up in Philly. He’s having a great year so far for Jay Wright and Co. Robinson-Earl is averaging 12.1 points and 9.7 rebounds a game. He shoots just 48% from the field but he makes 35% of his threes and 84% of his free-throws. It will be interesting to see how Bill Self decides to guard Robinson-Earl away from the basket.

Prediction

Kansas and Villanova have played in some very big and very emotional games over the last three or four years. This game promises to be just as exciting and enticing as any of those matchups. If Kansas can handle the double teams that are bound to come in the post, the Jayhawks should be fine. KU is an elite defensive team which should give them the edge in this contest.

Kansas 74, Villanova 62
KU -2.5

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK

Season Record: 9-1 (5-4 ATS)

Landen Fields

I’m a junior in high school. I’m also homeschooled, which gives me the ability to watch ESPN all day. I love the Jayhawks, and I love to write about them. I’m also a huge fan of Star Wars, Marvel, and action/sci-fi movies. I hope to have a career in sports media one day, and I am grateful for this first step into a larger world.