Sunday, March 27, 2022

Kansas, Villanova rekindle history with Final Four matchup

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) is defended by Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) during the second half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) is defended by Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) during the second half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.


Chicago — The long history between Kansas and Villanova will be rekindled on Saturday when they meet in the Final Four.

The teams have played eight times since the Jayhawks hired Bill Self as their coach prior to the 2003-04 and the Wildcats have won five of them. That includes a lopsided victory in the Final Four in 2018, the last time Kansas reached that stage.

Kansas, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, beat Texas Southern, Creighton, Providence and Miami to reach New Orleans. Villanova, the No. 2 seed in the South Region, dispatched Delaware, Ohio State, Michigan and Houston.

The winner of the last three NCAA Tournament games between Kansas and Villanova has won the national championship. Is that a sign? Let's relive the history between the two since Self and Villanova's Jay Wright took over their programs.

Jan. 2, 2004: No. 13 Kansas 86, Villanova 79

The Jayhawks made 35 of 41 free throws and went on a 23-5 run to lead 66-48 with 8:58 to play, but the Wildcats still closed to within five at 80-75 with 55 seconds left before falling at in the first game of a home-and-home series at Allen Fieldhouse. Keith Langford finished with 24 points, including two free throws to cap that run, and Wayne Simien Jr. scored 23.

Jan. 22, 2005: Villanova 83, No. 2 Kansas 62

Kansas entered the game unbeaten at 14-0 but took its first loss after Allen Ray scored 27 points and Curtis Sumpter scored 25 in Philadelphia. The Wildcats put the Jayhawks away with a 31-5 run to open the second half and at led by as many as 32 points. Ray and Sumpter combined to make nine 3-pointers, and Kansas committed 22 turnovers. "I hate that this happened today, but maybe a little humiliation will do us some good," Self said.

March 28, 2008: No. 4 Kansas 72, Villanova 57 (Sweet 16)

The Wildcats were a mere stepping stone for the Jayhawks, who won easily in Detroit on the road to their fifth national championship. They dazzled with four alley-oops in the opening nine minutes, including a highlight-reel connection when Russell Robinson threw the ball off the glass to Brandon Rush, who slammed it home. "I wasn't expecting that at all," said Rush, who finished with 16 points. Robinson scored 15 and Mario Chalmers had 14.

Nov. 29, 2013: Villanova 63, No. 2 Kansas 59

Kansas held Villanova without a field goal for nearly the final seven minutes, but Ryan Arcidiacono made a 3-pointer with 10.1 seconds left to give his team the win in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Frank Mason III scored, drew a foul and made a free throw with 34.2 seconds left to reclaim the lead for the Jayhawks, but they couldn't hold on in what turned out to be a game of runs. They led 11-2 then found themselves down 29-19, and they erased an 11-point lead with a 13-1 run late.

March 26, 2016: No. 6 Villanova 64, No. 1 Kansas 59 (Elite Eight)

Kansas' 17-game winning streak ended in Louisville, Kentucky, with an upset loss to Villanova, a No. 2 seed that led just 60-59 with 15 seconds left before it made its free throws to hang on. Perry Ellis, the Jayhawks' leading scorer, was held to just four points in a battle between teams that had been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll during the season. Devonte' Graham scored 17 points and Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr. each had 16. The Wildcats won their second national championship a week later by defeating North Carolina.

March 31, 2018: No. 2 Villanova 95, No. 4 Kansas 79 (Final Four)

The Wildcats made a Final Four-record 18 3-pointers on 40 attempts on what Wright called "just one of those nights" in San Antonio. Villanova took a 22-4 lead in the battle of No. 1 seeds and stifled Kansas' offense. "The game plan went to crap," Self said. "You get caught in between on defense, and it's the worst thing you can do." Villanova beat Michigan 79-62 two days later to win its second national title in three years.

Dec. 15, 2018: No. 1 Kansas 74, No. 17 Villanova 71

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Royals Hall of Famer George Brett were in attendance at Allen Fieldhouse as Devon Dotson made four free throws over the final 1:10 to keep the Jayhawks on top. Lagerald Vick scored 29 points and Dedric Lawson had 28 points and 12 rebounds for Kansas in a game that included eight ties and eight lead changes. "This atmosphere was just awesome," Wright said.

Dec. 21, 2019: No. 18 Villanova 56, No. 1 Kansas 55

Jermaine Samuels made the winning 3-pointer with 20.5 seconds left as the Wildcats, who shot 10-for-43 from beyond the perimeter, won in Philadelphia and became the first team to beat the Jayhawks twice when they were ranked No. 1 under Self. Dotson missed what would have been a tying free throw on the next possession, and a turnover by Villanova gave the Jayhawks another chance, but Dotson missed a contested layup as time expired.


Dirk Medema 4 months, 2 weeks ago

The 2018 FF game was a catalyst for the 2020 D. Their bigs exploited the fact that Dok couldn’t defend outside the paint and were largely responsible for the 3 pt carnage.

By 2020, though a FT was still a long shot for Dok, he had become one of our best perimeter defenders, whether it was against bigs or switching onto guards. The perfect example of you don’t have to shoot 3’s - especially if you can make 80% of your 2’s, but you do have to be able to defend the 3, because you can’t trade 2’s for 3’s and win.

Barry Weiss 4 months, 2 weeks ago

That 2018 final four game scarred me for life.

Bryce Landon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I think the 2016 game was more scarring, because of how the officials let Villanova mug us and do whatever they wanted while we got called for ticky-tack crap and how Devonte Graham tripped but was called for a foul. Looking back, I wonder if the 2016 game was rigged...

Bryce Landon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I hate Villanova, and it's time for us to get some revenge, especially with one of their top players out. Let's do to them what we did to Miami in the second half of yesterday's game!

Chad Smith 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Some people aren't gonna like this post, but I love Jay Wright as a coach, except for when KU has to play them.

If Self stepped down for whatever reason, Wright would be on my short list of coaches to hire. I don't think he's ever leaving Villanova, and I don't think Self is as close to retirement as we think.

Obviously the injury to Moore is huge, but Villanova has time to prepare knowing he won't be there. This will still be a tough game. Villanova plays a modified pro style of offense that puts pressure on individual defense and punishes help defense because of precision passing and quality shots. You almost never see Nova scrambling at the end of the shot clock or taking bad guarded three's like we had Miami doing for the middle of that 2nd half yesterday. and the pump fakes, dear lord let's make sure our guys know not to fall for the pump fake and give them easy fouls and easy midrange buckets.

KU definitely has to try and speed up the game as much as they can, but not at the sacrifice of rebounding or defense. I love KU's chances, but KU should not be overconfident because of an injury.

Time to exercise some more march demons like KU did in '08. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Armen Kurdian 4 months, 2 weeks ago

He's a good coach, and I have nothing against him or 'Nova personally either. Great point.

Having said that, I'd like to make them weep uncontrollably.

Brad Watson 4 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a team we have always struggled against....we will have to play out of our minds to win it...Villanova has ELITE talent at every position....a Hall of Fame coach and a style of play that is hard to defend...Making it into this Final tournament is great...but we are here...we might as well WIN IT!!!!....So it's going to take great preparation..attention to detail...making every free throw...playing smart...playing clean and error free.....we have to play our best game to have a get focused and locked in....get your rest....the real "94 ft. of hell " begins on have to be at your best!!!!!

Alan Dickey 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I just looked and, outside of Villanova’s starting five (including the gone-for-the-season SG Justin Moore), Caleb Daniels is averaging 27 minutes per game off the bench. He will replace Moore. But, in the last nine Villanova games decided by 8 or fewer points, the rest of their bench has played only an average of 7.8 minutes per game. Not one Villanova player, outside of the starting five and Daniels, averages even 2 points per game.

Villanova plays a very slow game. They rank 345th out of 358 D1 teams in adjusted tempo per KenPom. If we run at these guys, they are going to have some serious depth limitations, and foul trouble could be cataclysmic for Villanova. They just have no bench to work with. We should be able to exploit that.

Layne Pierce 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We could well lose to Villanova, if we are passive, and do not push the ball. Villanova does not have hardly any meaningful depth. If we run up fouls on them, we beat them, if we run them to death, we beat them.

Good news, this is no where near some of the other Villanova teams we have played in terms of overall talent. But they are still quite capable.

Guard play of Remy and Dajuan will be crucial, to at least control Gillespie. We will need to hit some threes just to keep their defense honest.


Keith Gellar 4 months, 2 weeks ago

No we can't. even if we can't make threes and they do - 5 man rotation is going to tire out. Their legs will give way. Add in some foul trouble. We have this in the bag.

Any other perspective is straight up thinking like a KSUCK or FIZZOU fan.

Keith Gellar 4 months, 2 weeks ago

This game with Villanova to me is bigger than the championship game. Bill Self needs to win this game to really cement his legacy (i know a lot of fans here already feel he has done this and are fine with the status quo). but here's my rationale:

  1. Jay Wright has put the clown suit on bill self twice. If a heavily undermanned Nova team beats KU next weekend, then its safe to say Jay Wright owns self.
  2. Jay Wright has 2 titles to selfs one. Nothing else matters (# of wins, big 12 streak, how many times we've sold out at AFH). This is the opportunity Self has to prove he can still coach at a high level. Add the 2nd title and Bill is in rare air. Otherwise he's going to be looked as a one bit wonder like Scott Drew.
  3. Did i mention Nova is heavily undermanned. There should be no reason why we do not win beat Nova. Even if they go on a 3 pt barrage, they will tire out and 3's will not fall. This game should be in the bag. I expect Bill self to be partly spending time game planning for the finals and prepping for UNC or DUKE since those will be games we actually have to worry about.

If Bill Self's team cannot beat Nova next week - he needs to go. The opportunity to play in the championship is being offered to Self on a platter. I just don't see how he can lose this. I've never been as confident in us winning any game than this.

See ya'll in the title match.

Armen Kurdian 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Looking at the bracket, I felt this game would be a very remote possibility. I can't express how much I want to win this game, and how much I want to bury 'Nova by 30 points or more, or win it on a last second shot (the latter would probably give me cardiac arrest, but eminently more satisfying).

I think we can win this game if we run and run and run. We win the game in transition.

Crush your enemies Drive them before you Hear the lamentations of the ... fans

-- Conan (Professional Barbarian)

Dirk Medema 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Coach Wright excels at creating and exploiting matchups. Guards posting up and bigs shooting from the perimeter. Gillespie loves posting up opposing guards. Can Juan/Remy defend in the post? Their bigs shoot 3’s. Can David/Mitch defend on the perimeter? It’s the O side of Coach Self’s make them uncomfortable D.

Being able to run against them starts on D. If we are taking the ball out of bounds after made shots we’re much less likely to be able to run. That was the difference in the two Miami halves. Talk all you want about O, but it’s starts on D.

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