The Kansas Jayhawks take on the Villanova Wildcats in the penultimate game of the college basketball season tonight for the right to play for a national title. KU has outperformed what most expected for them, but does our panel think they can push that even further?
Fizzle406: Kansas did the impossible, they shocked the world. People from all over the globe will be telling their kids and grandkids about the Duke/Kansas game for generations to come. In 20 years people will remember where they were standing when Svi tied up the game at the end of regulation. Can Kansas pull off the impossible again? I think Villanova will be too much for the Jayhawks to handle. Villanova 80, Kansas 72
dnoll5: I see what fizzle is doing, and I approve. And of course, he is again wrong for the common good. Unlike his uncommonly bad food takes, much of what he’s saying up there makes sense. And while I have no statistical information to back up why I believe Kansas is going to win, I do know one thing - Devonte Graham hasn’t had a standout game since before St. Patrick’s Day, and KU has kept on winning. I think he shows the world what he’s made of and propels KU to victory. After all, whenever Devonte has had to guard a player who is perceived to be better than him, he ALWAYS shows up. Kansas 87, Villanova 84.
David: While KU’s defense has seemingly improved in recent weeks, it’s still been the weak point of the team. That’s bad news going against one of the best offensive teams in recent history. I can see Bill Self finding a way to muddy it up and take ‘Nova out of their rhythm, but they’ll hit a few too many shots for Kansas to get to the title game. Villanova 74, Kansas 67
Kyle_Davis21: My optimism paid off against Duke, and had I said 85-81 instead of 83-81 (like Jesse Newell did) I might be typing this from Vegas right now. This game is hard to judge as there is a high variance in possible outcomes given we’ll see two 3-point shooting teams relying on hitting outside shots in a giant football stadium. For once, Kansas will have the inside advantage, and while Nova’s defense is rated highly in Kenpom, they’ve given up 101, 89, 79, and 76 in its four losses this year. So Nova will give up points. I’ll keep the same approach as I did Sunday. Malik continues to shine, Svi and Devonte’ hit clutch shots, and Udoka is able to establish a presence down low, but we have another nail-biter. Kansas 82, Villanova 79
Mike.Plank: ‘Nova has consistently been one of the top two teams all season long, and for good reason. I don’t think they’ll be able to steamroll Kansas like they have the rest of the field - Villanova’s four tournament wins this year have all been by 12 or more points. Everyone is predicting a high-scoring game (including me) which means it will probably be a 60-58 brick-fest. Look, Villanova does everything better than Kansas, they’re on a roll, and, well, it was fun while it lasted. Villanova 89, Kansas 82.
Andy Mitts: I keep waffling on this game. I do think that Kansas is going to find a lot of success on offense, and that the defense is going to be able to handle Omari Spellman pretty well, but they could play absolutely perfect defense and Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges could still both go off from long range. I’m going to stick with what has worked pretty much all season long: picking against the team in big spots and hoping to be completely wrong. Villanova 78, Kansas 71.