Friday, November 29, 2013
When: 930 PM Eastern
#2 Kansas Jayhawks (5-0) vs Villanova Wildcats (5-0)
RPI: Kansas: 1 | Villanova: 59
Sagarin: Kansas: 2 | Villanova: 36
Massey: Kansas: 1 | Villanova: 33
Imperial Arena (Capacity: 3,900)
Where: Nasau, Bahamas
TV: NBC Sports
Odds: Kansas -5 | 160 O/U
Villanova has faced off with Kansas four times in their history, with one win and three losses. Two of these big losses came in March. The Wildcats have the biggest victory out of the four games, however.
- 3/18/68- Kansas 55, Villanova 49
- 1/2/04- Kansas 86, Villanova 79
- 1/22/05- Villanova 83, Kansas 62
- 3/28/08- Kansas 72, Villanova 57
Notably, Kansas was ranked No. 2 in 2005 when Villanova beat them. It was a signature victory for the university.
(Editor's Note: Because we love you guys/gals, here are the highlights)
It's pretty simple. Kansas beat Duke. By double digits. They're averaging 87 points per game, scoring at least 80 in each contest. They're 8th in the nation in assists at 19.3/game, and lead the NCAA in field goal percentage shooting at a .568 clip.
But this battle is by no means David vs. Goliath. Villanova averages nearly 82 points per game, rebound better than the Jayhawks, and are top 25 in assists. Not to mention that Mouph is the only major contributor lost from a team that knocked off three top-5 squads last year. You could also frame this as a possible vengeance game; if 'Nova had beaten UNC in March Madness last year, they would have face Kansas in the second (third) round. The major difference for Kansas, of course, is Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins, a 6'8 freshman from Ontario, is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, freshman in college basketball this year. He has at least 13 points in every game, and grabs nearly seven rebounds each contest. He committed four fouls against Duke, but only has three others for the entire season.
That being said, Wiggins has been reportedly battling the flu all week and has not left the hotel other than for practices and games. So a day after playing an important role in the win against Wake Forest (in which he played well but was not dominant), he could be at less than 100% for the game tonight.
Dylan Ennis, Villanova's Ontario representative, played beyond expectations in his Wildcat debut. Ennis shot 80% from the floor in 23 minutes, including 3-4 from deep and providing three assists to just one turnover. We'll see his endurance tested in game two of the tournament as well.
Death. Taxes. Bill Self.
Jon Rothstein is famous for his description of the Kansas head coach, who is just one step below the likes of Coach K, Bob Knight, and John Wooden. He has won numerous National Coach of the Year awards, brought Kansas to nine straight Big 12 titles, and a national championship as recent as 2008. His current win percentage at Kansas is over .830 (in other words, averages better than a 25-5 season, every year for a decade).
Self has coached the likes of Deron Williams, Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore, and the Morris twins who were picked back-to-back in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State, where he also has a master's degree in athletic administration.
In addition to the above basketball players, Kansas has churned out many famous alums. This includes Clyde Tombaugh - the discoverer of the dwarf planet, Pluto.
Paul Rudd, the famous actor, is a Jayhawk. So is Rob Riggle from The Daily Show, and Mandy Patinkin, star of The Princess Bride and Criminal Minds. The Lawrence, KS school has also produced Nobel Winners in Chemistry and Economics.
Kansas is more well-known for their sports, however, so it should come as no shock that Gale Sayers (Hall of Fame running back) and Jack Del Rio (interim head coach for the Broncos) are graduates of KU. But it may surprise you that Rob Neyer (ESPN columnist and baseball writer) and THE Bill James (inventor of sabermetrics) are Rock Chalk through and through.