There are many who believe the two best teams of the NCAA Tournament so far are going to meet on Saturday in Louisville in the South Regional final.
The Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats, both impressive, double-digit winners during Thursday’s Sweet 16, will meet in the Elite Eight, with the winner to take on either Oregon or Oklahoma in next Saturday’s Final Four.
While Villanova crushed it in its game with Miami, Kansas overcame a sluggish first half to pull away from a bigger Maryland team that it dominated off the glass. The Jayhawks’ inside tandem of Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas controlled Maryland and I’ve never seen Ellis play with so much zeal. I believe he sees the light at the end of the tunnel in his career and he simply doesn’t want to lose. Lucas has been the final ingredient to the puzzle, as he’s even scoring to go along with his stellar defense and rebounding.
It’s hard to imagine Villanova shooting nearly 65 percent again on Saturday. The Wildcats made 10 of 15 from 3-point, an area the Jayhawks struggled at on Thursday. Fortunately, they were pounding the ball so well inside that they put the 3-point shot back in the holster.
Wayne Selden continues to excel. He had another 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists against Maryland and like Ellis, is playing with a passion I didn’t know existed.
Right now the red flags involve the KU backcourt. Both Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham, it turns out, were ailing. Graham wasn’t feeling well and had cramp issues, while Mason is bothered with a bad foot, one reason he can’t seem to finish at the rim with his usual effectiveness.
I had KU in the Final Four at the start and I’m not getting off the bandwagon. I think this is a team that is becoming more and more comfortable, as it’s overcome the stigma that it can’t get out of the second round.
Who knows, the KU-Villanova winner could very well be the champion. Both teams certainly have played at that level so far.