🏀 GAME PREVIEW: at Villanova
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 1 Kansas (9-1) is set for its first true road test of the 2019-20 campaign when the Jayhawks take on No. 18/14 Villanova (8-2) on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Philadelphia. The Jayhawks and Wildcats are slated to tip off from Wells Fargo Center at 11 a.m. (CT) on FOX.
- No. 1/1 Kansas takes a nine-game winning streak into its Dec. 21 contest at No. 18/14 Villanova in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. KU is in search of a win streak of 10 games or longer for the 17th time under Bill Self.
- With its 95-68 win against Milwaukee on Dec. 10, KU became just the second NCAA DI team (Gonzaga, 306) to claim 300 wins during this decade. KU sits at 301-67 in the 2010’s, good for an .818 win percentage.
- The KU-Villanova series is tied at 4-4. The Dec. 21 contest will be the third since March of 2018, with KU winning last season 74-71 in Lawrence.
- Through 10 games, five different Jayhawks – Devon Dotson, Isaiah Moss, Udoka Azubuike, Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack – have posted 20 or more points in a game this season. KU and Villanova are two of 18 DI squads that have had at least five players score 20-plus points in a game.
- Kansas is No. 1 in both national polls released Dec. 16. KU has been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll 70 times, 30 under Bill Self, and No. 1 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ poll 62 times, 31 under Self. KU has been ranked in each of the last 207 AP polls, the longest streak in the nation. The Jayhawks have also been inside the top-10 in 92 of the last 107 AP polls.
- Kansas is 23-11 all-time when being ranked No. 1, including 13-4 under Bill Self. Last year, Kansas was 2-1 in games as the No. 1 ranked team.
- KU is ranked No. 1 in the NET rankings through games of Dec. 18. The Jayhawks, who are one of seven DI teams to already have three or more “Quadrant 1” wins, boast a strength of schedule that ranks No. 2 nationally.
- Kansas ranks second nationally in field goal percentage at 52.9 percent. KU is one of only 10 teams shooting above 50 percent in 2019-20.
- Senior Udoka Azubuike leads the nation in field goal percentage at 83.1 percent. Azubuike also led the nation in 2017-18 at 77.0 percent.
- Sophomore guard Devon Dotson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.6 points per game. He is vying to be the second-straight Jayhawk and fifth overall to lead the Big 12 in scoring as Dedric Lawson averaged 19.4 ppg in 2018-19.
Head Coach Bill Self talks Villanova at his weekly press conference.
KANSAS WRAPPING UP IMPRESSIVE 2010’s
As the Jayhawks conclude the final days of the calendar year, its time to reflect on arguably the most impressive decade in program history. Kansas claimed its 300th victory since Jan. 1, 2010, with a 95-68 win against Milwaukee on Dec. 10, becoming just the second team in NCAA DI to hit the 300-win plateau this decade (Gonzaga, 306). This marks the first time the program has tallied 300 wins in a decade. KU’s 81.8 winning percentage (301-67) during the 2010’s trails only the run by the Jayhawks in the 1990’s, when KU posted a 82.0 win percentage with a 283-62 mark.
The 2010s saw the Jayhawks reach two Final Fours, claim nine Big 12 regular-season championships and win five Big 12 Tournament titles. KU was also slotted as a No. 1 seed in six of the 10 NCAA Tournaments played. Kansas found itself ranked among the top-10 in 157 of the 192 Associated Press polls released during this decade, spending a mind-boggling 82 percent of the 2010’s as a top-10 team.
The decade has not been kind to those playing the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse. KU concluded the decade with a 151-7 mark (95.6 percent) playing on James Naismith Court.
The program saw four Consensus First Team All-Americans, four Big 12 Players of the Year, 14 All-Big 12 First Team selections, as well as a National Player of the Year, all in the last 10 years.
Located in Villanova, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, No. 18/14 Villanova is 8-2 on the season and has won four straight after its 78-70 win against Delaware on Dec. 14. The Wildcats are coached by Jay Wright who is 456-177 in his 19th season at Villanova and 578-262 in his 26th season overall.
Villanova averages 80.4 points per game and has a plus-11.1 scoring margin. The Wildcats make 9.6 3-pointers per contest and attempt 25.2 from beyond the arc per game, making 38.1 percent. Villanova pulls down 37.3 rebounds per outing and has a plus-5.7 rebound margin. The Wildcats also average 16.7 assists, 6.2 steals and 3.9 blocked shots per game.
Sophomore forward Saddiq Bey leads Villanova averaging 16.3 points per game. He is second on the team with a 5.5 rebound average and has made 16 3-pointers this season. Junior guard Collin Gillespie is tied for the team lead with 21 3-pointers made this season and he leads Villanova with 52 assists and 15 steals. Gillespie scores 14.4 points per contest. Forward Justin Moore has been named the Big EAST Freshman of the Week each of the last three weeks. He averages 12.6 points per game and has made 16 3-pointers. Moore also has 18 assists and eight steals this season. Freshman forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl leads Villanova with 9.7 rebounds per game to complement his 12.1 scoring average. He is second on the team with 21 assists and 12 steals.
KANSAS VS. TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas is 1-1 against top-25 teams ranked in the Associated Press this season, defeating No. 20 Colorado on Dec. 7 after losing the season-opener to then-No. 1 Duke, 68-66. KU went 8-4 against top-25 teams in 2018-19. Under Bill Self, KU is 99-50 against AP-ranked opponents. In his first 16 seasons, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 13 of those seasons, which includes a 44-21 record from 2014-present.
KU’s record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 18-6 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14, including 2-1 in 2018-19 and 4-1 in 2017-18. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-3 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
KU SLATE AMONG THE TOUGHEST IN THE NCAA
The NCAA Evaluation Tool (“NET”), released for the first time this season on Dec. 16, has shown that not only have the Jayhawks endured one of the strongest schedules in the nation, but have tallied some of the more impressive wins among the 353 teams in Division I. Kansas’s strength of schedule ranks No. 2 in the latest NET breakdown, with the Jayhawks playing opponents that have an average NET ranking of 107th, a figure that ranks 17th in the NCAA.
The Jayhawks have also collected some impressive wins during the early-season schedule, claiming a pair of wins against teams in “Quadrant 1” (Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75). KU is one of only seven teams in the nation with three or more Quad 1 wins.
Kansas, which sits at No. 2 in the latest NET rankings, could potentially have more opportunities to collect Q1 wins, with all three of its remaining non-conference opponents inside the top-50 of the NET, and seven of its 10 Big 12 opponents inside the top-80.
vs. Villanova: Series tied 4-4
Current Streak: Win 1
Longest KU Win Streak: 2 (1968, 2004)
Longest KU Losing Streak: 3 (2013, 2016, 2018)
Last 5 Games: Villanova leads 3-2
In Lawrence: KU leads 2-0
In Philadelphia: Villanova leads 1-0
Neutral Sites: Villanova leads 3-2
Under Bill Self: Villanova leads 3-4
First Meeting: March 18, 1968 (W, 55-49)
Last Meeting: Dec. 715, 2018 (W, 74-71)
Largest Margin of Victory: 15 (72-57, March 28, 2008)
Largest Margin of Defeat: 21 (62-83, Jan. 22, 2005)
The Jayhawks will close out the calendar year with a trip to the west coast for a battle against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Dec. 29. Tipoff from Maples Pavilion is slated for 2 p.m. (CT) on ABC.
The Jayhawks and Cardinal will meet for the 15th time overall and the fifth time since 2014. KU leads the series 11-3. Kansas has won three-straight against Stanford, who is coached by former Jayhawk guard Jerod Haase, including last season’s 90-84 overtime win in Lawrence.