Kansas 81 vs 65 Villanova summary: stats and highlights | NCAA Final Four
The Kansas Jayhawks are headed to the National Championship after beating the Villanova Wildcats in the opening game of the Final Four. David McCormack was the top dog for the Jayhawks scoring 25 pts in the 81-65 victory.
Kansas gets revenge
It was a rematch of the 2018 Final Four game in which the Wildcats advanced to the title game and beat Michigan to win their third title.
Kansas started the game off with a bang scoring the first 10 points thanks to some fantastic play from Ochai Agbaji and McCormack. Villanova struggled to fill the void left by Justin Moore who tore his achilles earlier in the tournament.
The inside out duo of McCormack and Agbaji had the Jayhawks up 19 points at one point in the game thanks to 7-10 shooting from downtown, but the Wildcats came battling back with a 10-2 run at the end of the first half to bring the deficit to 40-29 heading into the break.
Jayhawks looking for Title number 4
Agbaji got the Jayhawks started off in the second half the same way they got started in the first half, with a three pointer to get Kansas off the block on the right foot. There were a couple of mini runs that the Wildcats made, but they were never able to cut the lead to under six points.
With under four minutes to go Christian Braun drained a fade away three with the shot clock winding down to stretch the lead out to 12, and from there Kansas cruised to victory.
McCormack ended the night with a season high 25 points and 9 rebounds, while Ochai Agbaji hit 6-7 threes scoring 21 points.
The Jayhawks are on to their first National Title game since 2012. They will play the winner of the Duke vs. North Carolina game for a chance to hoist their fourth championship trophy.
Braun was scoreless in the first half, but exploded in the second half. This was probably the shot of th game.
McCormack with a wide open dunk down low. There may be 50 seconds left, but this game is over.
Antoine with a three ball
Agbaji with a couple of FTs and Kansas are pulling away.
Timeout with under 2 minutes to go as Harris was trapped in a double team.
Braun again!!! He's got 10 points tonight, all in the second half.
Braun with a fade away three as the shot clock was running down! Huge shot there for the Jayhawks. We are headed to our final TV timeout!
Samuels to the line but hits just 1 of 2
Braun driving and finishes with a composed floater in the lane.
Again it's McCormack with the jump hook when Kansas need it most. He's got a season high 23 points.
Samuels with a grown man move, gets the bucket and the foul. FT is good and we have a 6 point game with 6:10 to go.
We are at the under 8 timeout. Kansas it up 9 from New Orleans.
Every time Kansas need a bucket they go down to McCormack. This time he's fouled and hits both FTs. He's got 21 points tonight.
Dixon at the line hits both FTs and we have a seven point game in New Orleans.
Slaiter is starting to heat up! He's got three 3 pointers in the second half and he's got 13 points.
Wilson with the layup and then McCormack shrugs off a defender and slammed it on Daniels.
Gillespie with a deep ball and we are seeing a shootout in the Superdome!
AGBAJI!! 6-6 from outside.
Samuels with the power move and lay up
Harris answers with a three ball of his own after just missing out a minute ago.
Slaiter again from outside!
McCormack with a huge offensive board and put back to break the run. He's got 17, and is the leading scorer of the game.
Daniels with a hand in his face, drops the three and Nova is on an 8-0 run which forces a timeout from Kansas.
Much needed three for Nova out of the timeout, that time from Slaiter
Daniels with another strong move. He's going to have to be the one playing Robin to Gillespie's Batman.
Dixon makes a layup for Nova, but Kansas responds with a Harris three ball of the McCormack assist. The big man is attracting a lot of attention which is opening up space on the perimeter.
McCormack getting tough downlow again gets the lay up to go.
Agbaji starting the second half like he started the first half. He hits a three ball and he's now 5-5 from downtown.
Gillespie gets back to work from downtown, and he is carrying this Villanova side.
Brown with his first bucket of the game on a baseline drive
We are underway in the second half! 20 minutes to decide a winner and a National Championship finalist.
McCormack is the top scorer with 13 points. Agbaji started hot with 12 points on 4-4 shooting from downtown.
A very entertaining first half comes to an end! KU has been in control all game, but Nova got back into the game in the late part of the half.
LIghtfoot on the offensive board and put back to break the Nova run.
Villanova crashing the boards hard and earning a third opportunity which Gillespie makes no mistake of from downtown. 10-0 run for Nova with 1:23 in the first half.
This stadium is starting to get loud, and it's the Nova fans making the noise towards the end of the half. The Wildcats are on a 7-0 run.
Gillespie this time going inside for the first time tonight, and got it to go despite some great defending.
For as well as KU has played, Villanova is not out of this game. They trail by 14 but a good end to the first half could have them down by just single digits.
Gillespie with the three ball, and he's got a couple of those tonight. Timeout with under 4 to go in the half.
Wilson on the third opportunity. Kansas is not just dominating from downtown, they are hitting the boards hard.
Wilson with another three ball for Kansas! They can't be stopped from downtown, and as I'm writing this Martin drop a long ball. KU is shooting 70%
Daniels back to work, this time going to the bucket and one.
McCormack is now the top scorer in the game with 13 points.
Daniels again out of the timeout, drops a mid range jumper. They need someone to step up with Moore out. Will it be Daniels?
There's the KU big man again after Agbaji draws the defense in the paint. McCormack has 11 and Agbaji has 12. Timeout Nova with 9:28 to go in the first half.
Kansas goes back down to McCormack, and the good three point shooting will do nothing but open up space for the KU big man down low.
Harris drops the three ball for Kansas, and we are being treated to a shooting demonstration tonight at the Superdome. Kansas is 5-8 from downtown.
Samuels out of the timeout with a three ball and other than the first bucket of the game, Nova have his nothing but threes.
AGBAJI!!!! 4-4 from downtown and he's got 12 of the first eight minutes of the game.
Daniels drops the three ball, and Nova starting to get things going on the offensive end.
Villanova have given the ball up five times already. They are averaging just 9 a game during the tournament.
Agbaji from the corner!!! He's on fire from downtown. Nine points in the first 7 minutes and the Jayhawks are up 11.
Gillespie drops the three from the corner, and that is going to give Nova a big boost if they see their leading scorer get hot in the early going.
McCormack might have just missed a dunk but he looks in the mood tonight.
How much will Villanova miss their second leading scorer Justin Moore who tore his achilles earlier in the tournamnent?
Slater gets the first points of the game for Nova, but they are struggling on the offensive end. They have just two points to the first TV timeout.
Three quick turnovers, and Kansas is up 10-0 Agbaji is 2-2 from downtown.
Seven quick points from Kansas! But even better than that is the KU defense. They have strated ultra aggresive turning defense to offense.
Here we go!!! We are underway from the Superdome!
Keep and eye on Collin
Collin Gillespie is Villanova’s top scorer with 15.6 points a game. He’s averaging a shade under that in the tournament at 13 game. He had just 6 points against Houston, but that was a game where there were 94 points total scored, so he wasn’t the only one struggling to score.
Agbaji the leading man
Kansas has got to this point in the tournament on the shoulder of Ochai Agbaji who is is averaging 18.9 ppg. Although his numbers have dipped a bit in the tournament he came up with the crucial steal and score against Creighton in the last minute to seal the win for the Jayhawks. Christian Braun is the second leading man on Kansas with 14.3 points a game and has just about been on his average in the tournament, except for his 6 point performance against Providence.
Will history repeat itself?
In the 2018 Final Four the Wildcats were the better side from the start, taking a 15 point lead to halftime. Jay Wright’s men held off the Jayhawks in the second half to go on to their fourth National Title game in program history.
Nova beat KU in 2018 Final Four
Like Kansas, Villanova is looking for their fourth National Title in program history. While they have had a recent resurgence under head coach Jay Wright, they don’t have quite the history that Kansas has. This year will be the Wildcats seventh trip to the Final Four. They have moved on from those seven Final Fours four times, hoisting the trophy on three of those occasions. The last time Nova won it all was in 2018, when the Wildcats beat Kansas in the Final Four and took down Michigan in the title game.
KU haven't been to title game since 2012
Kansas is widely revered as one of college basketball’s top programs, which is why it might sound strange to hear they haven’t won a National Championship since 2008. They have been to 16 Final Fours, but have just three college basketball titles. The Jayhawks have been to the final eight times, but lost on five of those trips with the last one coming in 2012 when they lost to Kentucky. That game was played in…. The Superdome in New Orleans. Perhaps a bad omen for Rock Chalk.
Nova's dominant D
Villanova’s defense has not just been one of the best in the tournament, it’s been the best we have seen in any NCAA Tournament. They are allowing an average of 55 points a game which is .7 points less than this year’s best defensive team in the country, North Texas, who allowed 55.7 points a game. Kansas is averaging 76 points a game in the tournament, and will be facing by far the best defense they have come up against on their path to the Final Four.
How they got here: Villanova
Villanova finished second in the Big East after the regular season, but won the conference tournament over Creighton to earn a two seed in the tournament. Nova haven’t had it easy after cruising past 15 seed Delaware in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They then beat seven seed Ohio State in the second round to earn a date with the Buckeyes eternal rival, eleven seed Michigan Wolverines in the Sweet 16. In the Elite Eight they went up against last year’s Final Four participants the Houston Cougars and squeaked past them 40-44.
How they got here: Kansas
Kansas is the only one seed left in the tournament after finishing the regular season in the Top 5 and winning the Big 12 tournament. Kansas eased past 16 seed Texas Southern in the first round of the tourney, but were made to sweat in the next couple games. Creighton gave them all they could handle in the next round. It was a one point game with under a minute left before Ochai Agbaji came up with a steal and score to seal the game for the Jayhawks. KU drew Providence in the next round, and Kansas once again survived a late run from the Friars for a five point win. Miami was next up and the Jayhawks won comfortably to get to their 16th Final Four.
We are live from the Caesars Superdome
Hello everyone and welcome to New Orleans where we have a Final Four loaded with former champions. The winner of tonight’s opening contest will move on to the National Title game where they will battle the winner of the late game on Monday night.
Kansas vs. Villanova
It all comes down to this. The field of 68 has been trimmed down to the Final Four and we are three games away from crowning a the college basketball champion. Kansas and Villanova will tip off the night and AS English will have you covered with live scores, stats, analysis and highlights of tonight’s contest from the Caesars Superdome.