Representing the # 1 and # 2 seeds of the South bracket, the 30-4 Kansas Jayhawks and the 29-5 Villanova Wildcats will meet on Saturday night in the Elite Eight. Kansas is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2012 thanks to a 79-63 victory over the 5th seeded Maryland Terrapins. Kansas trailed for most of the first half before grabbing a 2-point halftime lead while dominating the second half. Villanova is back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008 after a wire-to-wire 92-69 victory over the # 3 seeded Miami Hurricanes.
Although 4 players scored in double figures for Kansas it was Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr. that led the way. Ellis tied a career high with 27 points to go along with 5 rebounds. It was the third straight game that Ellis has reached at least 20 points. Selden Jr. Contributed 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal. Landen Lucas recorded his third consecutive double-double in the tournament with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Defensively, they turned it up after halftime limiting Maryland to just 8 of 23 shooting in the second half. For the game Maryland was just 5-25 from three-point range, Kansas also dominated the boards in the second half outrebounding Maryland 22-8. If there was a negative, it was they lost the turnover battle 11-9.
Villanova put on a clinic in offensive efficiency against Miami by shooting 63 percent from the field but an even more impressive 67 percent from behind the arc. They made 32 of 51 shots overall including 10 of 15 from three-point range. Kris Jenkins and Ryan Arcidiacono led the way with 21 points each. Jenkins added 9 rebounds and 4 assists while Arcidiacono added 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Defensively, they forced Miami into 12 turnovers but allowed them to shoot a very high percentage. Miami shot over 50 percent from the field including 59 percent on three-pointers making 10 of 17. Villanova dominated the rebounding battle 27-17 and made 18 of their 19 free-throw attempts.
Both of these teams have covered so far in their 3 tournament wins but Villanova has dominated as they have won by at least 19 points in each game. Kansas has won their games by double digits as well but struggled in the second half against Connecticut getting outscored 37-29 and the first half against Maryland where they were down most of the half before taking a 2-point halftime lead. On Paper Kansas has the better offense but so far Villanova has scored at least 86 points in all 3 games. Kansas hasn’t been able top 80 points in either of last 2 victories after scoring 105 against the 16th seeded Austin Peay Governors. Kansas is 3-point favorites in this game and hasn’t lost in their last 17 games. Villanova’s last loss was a 69-67 defeat to Seton Hall on March 12th in the championship game of the Big East Conference tournament.
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