Kansas basketball: Five things to know about Villanova

(Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images) /

#1 Kansas basketball takes on #18 Villanova next Saturday. Here are five things to know about the Wildcats.

The Jayhawks are the number one team in the land according to the latest AP Poll, and Kansas basketball will get its first road test of the season next Saturday against Villanova. It’ll help show just how good this team really is, and whether or not they deserve their new ranking.

Here are five things to know about Villanova:

1. Villanova’s two losses came to ranked teams

Similar to Kansas basketball, the only blemishes on Nova’s 8-2 record came from ranked opponents. The Wildcats were taken down by a talented Ohio State team in the second game of the season 76-51, and again by Baylor 87-78. Neither loss came at home for Villanova, so the Jayhawks would be trying to hand the Wildcats their first home loss of the season.

2. The Wildcats have a great offense

According to KenPom, Villanova has the second-highest offensive efficiency rating in college basketball. Sophomore Saddiq Bey leads the Wildcats’ prolific offense with 16.3 points per game while three other players average 10 or more points per game. Slowing down Nova’s offense will provide a good challenge for the Kansas defense that ranks ninth in the nation.

3. Villanova doesn’t get to the free throw line often

While the Wildcats’ offense is explosive, they struggle to get to the free throw line regularly. Their free throw rate is 215th in the country, and only 16.9% of Nova’s points come from the free throw line which ranks 234th in the nation. That doesn’t mean the Jayhawks can rely on fouling as a way to slow Villanova down though since the Wildcats shoot 76.8% from the line.

4. The Wildcats could win the Big East

Villanova was second in the Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll by only one point. Seton Hall claimed the top spot with 77 points and five first-place votes, while the Wildcats came in second with 76 points and also five first-place votes. The Big East is extremely competitive this season, but if Kansas can take down Nova, they may have beaten the eventual Big East champion.

5. Villanova relies on the three-pointer

The Wildcats shoot 38.1% from behind the arc, and they also score 35.8% of their points from behind the three-point line according to KenPom. If Kansas basketball can guard the three-pointer it’ll severely limit Villanova’s potent offense and force them to work the ball inside.

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This is going to be Kansas’ first true road test of the season and it’ll be telling for how this team will play away from home. Hopefully, they don’t end up like last year’s team: unable to win games in places not called “Allen Fieldhouse.”

You can catch the game at 11:00 AM (CT) this Saturday on FOX.