PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — As we wait for No. 2 Kansas to tip off against Villanova here at Imperial Arena, here are four things to know about Kansas and tonight’s matchup.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
• 1. The last time Kansas played Villanova: In the 2008 Sweet 16, where KU rolled past Villanova 72-57 in Detroit on its way to the NCAA title.
This latest version of Villanova is 5-0 and defeated Southern California 94-79 in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Friday. The Wildcats also beat Towson 78-44 earlier this year. Why is that important? That’s the same Towson team that went down 88-58 at Allen Fieldhouse.
“They just play hard, and they’re tough kids,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “And we’ve had some good games with them in the past. They’re not real big, so they’re interchangeable.”
• 2. Villanova is led by 6-foot-7 forward JayVaughn Pinkston, who is averaging 18.6 points per game. A Brooklyn native, Pinkston was a top-75 recruit out of high school, according to Rivals.
Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is probably best equipped to guard Pinkston, but because Pinkston starts at the four-spot, Perry Ellis may draw the defensive assignment.
• 3. In his first five games, Andrew Wiggins has been terrific at taking care of the ball. He has just four turnovers during the span, and as pointed out by ESPN analyst John Gasaway, that’s four turnovers in 258 possessions played this season. For comparison, Duke freshman Jabari Parker has 20 turnovers in seven games.
The only question: Should Wiggins be forcing the action more? He may risk more turnovers by putting it on the floor, but the payoff is more offense and more potential free throw attempts.
• 4. It’s early in the season, so all statistics need to come with a “small sample size” disclaimer. But after Thursday’s victory over Wake Forest, Kansas dropped to 20th in the country in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com.
So far, this hasn’t looked like your usual Bill Self team. The Jayhawks are allowing opposing teams to hit 48.9 percent of their two-point attempts. Last season, teams hit just 39 percent of their two-point attempts against KU. For a Self team, allowing 48.9 percent on two-point field goals is off the charts.
To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.