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Villanova Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks: NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Preview and Prediction

Perry Ellis

Perry Ellis

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Both the Kansas Jayhawks and the Villanova Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight in dominant fashion on Thursday night. Behind 27 points from Perry Ellis, the Jayhawks cruised to a 79-63 victory over the Maryland Terrapins in the Sweet 16. Villanova routed the Miami Hurricanes 92-69 as the Wildcats shot 67 percent from the arc.

Now Kansas and Villanova will meet on Saturday night for the right to play in this year's Final Four in Houston.

No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (32-5) vs. No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks (33-4)

When: 8:49 p.m. ET (Saturday)

Where: KFC Yum! Center (Louisville, KY)


Line: Kansas -2.5

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Keys for Villanova

Villanova has arguably been the most dominating team in this year's NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have defeated their first three opponents by an average of 24.7 points and it is because they have been a balanced team.

Four of Villanova's five starters scored in double digits in the blowout win over the Hurricanes and Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins both scored 21 points apiece. The Wildcats will need to maintain this balance to be successful against a Jayhawks team that uses their length and size to create turnovers.

Villanova also will need to attack the basket early in the game to get the Kansas big men in foul trouble.

Keys of Kansas

Kansas entered the Tournament as the overall No.1 seed and they have certainly played like it. The Jayhawks have won each of their three games by double digits and their athleticism and ability to force turnovers have played a significant role in their success.

By forcing turnovers on the defensive end, Kansas has been able to get some easy transition buckets on offense. This will need to continue against a Villanova team that has shot the basketball better than any in the Tournament. 

Three-point shooting also will be a huge key for the Jayhawks, especially since the Wildcats have been successful behind the arc. Kansas will need Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason to hit their outside shots to increase the chances of easier opportunities close to the basket.

Final Analysis

Villanova has yet to be really tested this Tournament, but that will change on Saturday. Kansas is arguably the best team remaining and the Jayhawks will be the toughest team Villanova has seen all season.

While the Wildcats have shot the ball well lately, that will change against the Jayhawks. Kansas has the length, speed and athleticism on the perimeter and the inside to give Villanova a lot of problems. It should be a close game but expect the Jayhawks to punch their ticket to Houston.

Prediction: Kansas 76, Villanova 70

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter@antwanstaley.