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27 March 2008

'Nova hopes to upset top-seed Kansas in Sweet 16

posted by NovaFan09
3/27/2008 12:27:00 PM

12-seed Villanova Wildcats (22-12) vs.
1-seed Kansas Jayhawks (33-3)

Date: Friday, March 28, 2008
Location: Detroit, Michigan (Ford Field)
Time: Approx. 9:40 p.m. EDT
Television: CBS

Kansas coverage: PhogBlog | Rock Chalk Talk

In mid-January, who would have thought that the Villanova Wildcats would have a chance to upset a 1-seed in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament? That will exactly be the case on Friday, when the Wildcats square off with the Kansas Jayhawks at 9:40 p.m. in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Kansas started the season by winning 20 straight games and cruised to another Big 12 Conference title by going 13-3 in its division. The Jayhawks' three losses on the year came in February, when the Kansas fell to Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State by a combined 13 points. One could conceivably make the argument that Kansas flirted with going undefeated more so than Memphis, as the Jayhawks faced stiffer competition all season.

Make no mistake about it, head coach Bill Self has built a loaded roster, with talented former McDonald’s All-Americans top to bottom.The Jayhawks led the nation in regular-season scoring margin, at more than 21 points per game. Additionally, Kansas led the Big 12 in offense and several key defensive categories, including blocks, steals, and defensive field percentage. Simply put, the Jayhawks don't just beat you, they blow you out.

Kansas essentially wears down opponents by exercising its athleticism and depth to the fullest by regularly rotating nine or ten men each game. In the first two NCAA Tournament games, Kansas pummeled Portland State and UNLV by 24 and 19 points, respectively.

Touting nearly five double-digit scorers, Kansas is led by sophomore forward Darrell Arthur (13.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg). Joining him in the frontcourt are senior Darnell Jackson (11.5, 6.7) and senior Sasha Kaun. In the backcourt, junior Brandon Rush, who tested the NBA draft last spring before tearing his ACL, averages 13.0 ppg. Mario Chalmers, who shoots nearly 48 percent from downtown, chips in 12.6 points and 4.5 assists per game. Not to be overlooked, sophomore Sherron Collins puts in just under 10 points per game and is an electric spark off Bill Self’s bench. Any one of these players, who all average under 30 minutes per game, can be the star, and it will be important that all players are accounted for and not forgotten, as all are lethal in their offense.

Keys to the game

Containing Jayhawk frontcourt:
‘Nova is severely undersized in the frontcourt, both in height and athleticism. While ‘Nova has contained the likes of Georgetown, UConn, and Clemson down low, the Jayhawks’ big men as a group are much deeper and talented. Villanova will try to seal off the passing lanes and make Kansas’ guards make shots from the outside, much in the same way ‘Nova contained Clemson in the second half.

Contest three-pointers: To be honest, Villanova has definitely benefited from its tournament opponents missing open three-point shots. Chalmers and Brandon rush both shoot over 44 percent from beyond the arc, so even though Villanova will be denying the post, the guards must contest shots on the wings from these two Jayhawks.

Ball control: Kansas pressures the ball the full length of the court. Scottie Reynolds is still Villanova’s best ball handler, but Fisher has more than proved his worth the past two games. Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson both average more than two steals per game, so limiting turnovers will be a big part of competing in this game.

‘Nova supporting cast: We know Reynolds can get the job done, but who else will provide the added punch to knock the Jayhawks out? Stokes needs to light it up and Pena and Cunningham must add some points and offensive rebounds inside.


Shane Clark: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Clark’s intangibles (leadership, seniority) and some timely rebounding will help ‘Nova immensely. Either that, or his poor dribbling and blown defensive rotations will cause Kansas to have a field day. With Self using basically his entire roster, there is no way the ‘Cats can keep pace without doing the same, especially with Drummond out for good. It is this reason why Clark and the rest of Jay Wright’s bench will be so important come Friday.

Coaching: Will another one of Bill Self’s teams self-destruct in the tournament? Will Jay Wright finally have his young team believing in themselves? We will all find out by midnight on Saturday.

Ford Field: ‘Nova teams traditionally have trouble shooting the three in football and baseball stadiums that have been converted to basketball arenas for NCAA games. Because this team relies so much on its outside game, let us hope this game does not turn into 2006’s version of the Minneapolis Metrodome (Florida defeat).

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At 1:58 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous CurtisSumpter'sKnee said...

Kansas' schedule all year has been pretty humdrum. Texas was the only team that they played in the top 25 RPI all year. Thats pretty weak sauce. If nova plays as well as it can, Kansas is in for a little bit of a treat.

Nova 78
Kansas 70

At 2:16 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet they come at us with fierce attack at the start of the game to put us away early, we must frustrate their efforts and retaliate.

You can also bet that with all the press Scottie gets, and rightly so, they will focus on him defensively; we must use that to our advantage and others must step up.... hopefully that will take the pressure off Scottie, and he can then do his thing.

They are deep, and like to run, so we will probably press them; bench play is critical, we match their depth in the back court... we must keep fresh legs on the court.

I read a lot that they have more talent and size in the front court, I don't see it; but they are deeper, so our fouls will be critical.

This is going to be a real "dog fight" but I think we can win it.

Go 'Cats.....

At 2:27 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous CurtisSumpter'sKnee said...

Yo annon, post your prediction for the final score.

At 2:32 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Villanova - 78
Kansas - 76

At 5:06 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Aaron Matthews said...

lets not forget we got a couple ***** guards on our squad too..they play with intensity and passion, you never know what can happen! dare i say, stokes and reynolds for a combined 60 points!!! haha ok maybe a bit optimistic...however, jay's suits will be impeccable so at least we got that on our side.

Cats 74
Gayhawks 73

At 5:54 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous joe mamma said...

I'm tired of everyone talking about how good kansas is. And everyone has davidson being the double-digit seed to advance to the elite eight. I'm tired of it. Nova is gonna play their hearts out, behind scottie's leadership, along w another big game from stokes.
Nova 79
Kansas 76

At 6:01 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous joe mamma said...

also, was it me, or did tyreke evans look like a total ball hog? I dont think he would fit in well at nova and he would just mess with the team's chemistry.

At 6:04 PM, March 27, 2008, Blogger Pete said...

Kansas 80
Villanova 68

Here's hoping I'm wrong!

At 6:15 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jo mamma,

You and I saw the same thing...

If Tyreke comes to Villanova he will find his butt on the pine 'till he learns to play Villanova Basketball!

At 7:40 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but, youve got to be a ballhog in highschool. Thats the way you get yourself noticed. And if you're the best on the team, they're going to count on you to win. Im not saying that i think ball-hogginess is a good quality, but i doubt he'd carry that trait into college bball. He really couldnt.

At 7:50 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Gregg said...

Forget Tyreke Evans, he's going to Memphis. Lets just get a win tomorow.

At 8:48 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 9:12 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we dont't know if tyreke is going to memphis and he will def help this team next year so lets hope for a win tomorrow AND that we get tyreke

At 11:08 PM, March 27, 2008, Anonymous Big D aka i believe said...

i havent posted a score in a long time...because i beleive we can match up...I believe in this team. lets go cats.

At 12:43 AM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous Sean Don said...

Villanova 80
Kansas 68

The Kansas win in '05 changed our program and put us on the map. A win tomorrow night will catapult us to the next level. Go Cats!

At 1:51 AM, March 28, 2008, Blogger John said...

Nova 77
Kansas 73

At 9:32 AM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous Joey said...

bulletin board material?


lets go nova!

At 9:58 AM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I have read a lot of pundits predicting a Kansas win, but none sound as hateful as Gregg Doyel. I am headed to Detroit to cheer the boys on. Anything is possible, we've already proven that!

Kansas 61

At 10:22 AM, March 28, 2008, Blogger Hiphopopotamus said...

Good write up. Kansas is clearly the better team in every area, but Villanova has the rare combination of a team that is playing with house money, but still has tons of talent - very scary.

Kansas 76
'Nova 61

At 11:44 AM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous VillanovaViewpoint.com Editor said...

Hello, Nova09-

I was particularly impressed with this preview. I have published one on my own site, with a different focus than yours. Mine relies heavily on the respective histories and traditions of the two programs. I found your preview to be very helpful in terms of evaluating the Jayhawks personnel and their likely strategy.

I would agree that there is considerable pressure on Kansas to win, given the long - by Kansas standards - drought of Final Four appearances, particularly since Self has not yet reached one since he arrived in Lawrence. That might play to Villanova's advantage.

Shane Clark - I agree, could be the wild card factor.

To read my preview, just click on the signature link above.

Comments, feedback, etc., are always welcomed.

At 11:46 AM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous VillanovaViewpoint.com Editor said...

One thing I forgot to mention- I have the link to this post, as well as Pete's intelligent dialogue with Rock Chalk's Cory, linked near the top of my preview...

Go Wildcats!

At 6:00 PM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are all confused, I have heard from all the EXPERTS???

Nova has no chance to win....

We might as well not show up, just forfeit the game and go home!!

...... NOT ......

GO 'Cats...

At 9:32 PM, March 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nova 79
Kansas 76


At 11:28 AM, March 29, 2008, Blogger Treasagent said...

yea, 'Nova really kicked some Jaybird butt last night! The Hawk will NEVER die!

At 10:27 AM, April 02, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the hawk died in the first round this year.


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