Wildcats seek home upset over No. 2 Jayhawks

Raynor Denitzio

On Wednesday night, Villanova was held scoreless over the final two minutes as they fell to unbeaten No. 9 Boston College 67-66 in Boston. The road doesn’t get any easier for ‘Nova as the No. 2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks (14-0) travel to the mainline to take on the Wildcats on Saturday.

Kansas is coming off a close game of its own. Wednesday night they held off Big XII opponent Nebraska 59-57 to remain unbeaten. Kansas is one of only four unbeaten teams left in college basketball, joining the company of BC, Duke and Illinois.

Kansas has a tendency to play down to their opponents. Before Wednesday’s two point win over mediocre conference foe Nebraska at home, they opened with a 68-61 come from behind victory over Vermont. Since then they have had close wins over South Carolina, and Iowa State.

If the Wildcats hope to do more than be just another close win for the Jayhawks, they will need to do better than their performance against Boston College. After trailing by seven points at the half, ‘Nova was able to battle back against the tough Eagles team to take the lead. The Wildcats had a six point lead with two minutes to play, only to be held scoreless for the remainder of the game. The Wildcats have also dropped close games to Georgetown and Notre Dame.

The Wildcats match up well against Kansas as neither is a particularly big team. Like Villanova, Kansas relies on speed and athleticism to make up for their lack of size.

Kansas has a lot of senior leadership. Among four talented seniors on the roster are point guard Aaron Miles, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, and Big XII player of the week Wayne Simien.

Villanova is in need of a victory as, after Kansas, they still have a key home conference game against Notre Dame, before they travel to Storrs to take on UConn. A win over Boston College would have been nice, and would have taken some of the pressure off the ‘Cats, but this home game against undefeated Kansas provides ‘Nova with another chance to punch the giant in the mouth and improve their RPI with a win over a quality opponent.

The ‘Cats have shown they can play with top-tier teams and this game provides another opportunity for them to get over the hump and come away with a big win.