Villanova shocks No. 2 Kansas in Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal (VIDEO)

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Villanova isn’t as talented as Kansas. In fact, Kansas will almost assuredly have a better season than Villanova. But, tonight in The Bahamas, Villanova was the better team — they were the tougher team.

Ryan Arcidiacono was nearly invisible for the entire game, but in the final minute he drilled the biggest shot of his young career — a corner three right in front of his team’s bench to put the Wildcats up 61-59. James Bell then hit two free throws in the final seconds to seal the game for Villanova, winning 63-59.

Dylan Ennis was Villanova’s best offensive player, despite coming off the bench and taking only five shots — he was 4-5 from the field, 3-3 on 3PT, and 3-4 from the line, totaling 14 points.

A quick look at the box score shows an ugly game. Both teams shot below 40% from the field and below 70% from the free throw line. Villanova won this game by being tougher and more physical than Kansas; they out-rebounded the Jayhawks and their talented frontcourt 43 to 34.

All things considered, Villanova wasn’t overly impressive in the sense that their offensive play was very pedestrian. What they did, however, was make Kansas very uncomfortable throughout the game with their physical play on defense and on the boards. Essentially, they frustrated Kansas, and the Jayhawks didn’t respond like the No. 2 team in the country should have.

Andrew Wiggins struggled all night as he scored just ten points on 3-8 shooting from the field and 4-7 from the free throw line. Furthermore, he committed four turnovers. There is no doubting Wiggins’ talent, but this isn’t the first time that he has looked too passive on the floor. Credit Villanova’s defense for that as Wiggins and others were never able to get in a rhythm offensively.

How concerned should Kansas be with the result? Well, how concerned should Duke be with their near loss at home against Vermont? What about Kentucky’s unimpressive performance against Cleveland State? Michigan State’s performance against Columbia? Granted, these were all wins for Duke, Kentucky, and Michigan State, but they exposed weaknesses. We are not even into December yet, so it should come as no surprise that some of the nation’s top teams have had their weaknesses exposed.

Kansas will learn from this loss to Villanova — a team that is hardly any slouch, is now 6-0, and a likely Top 25 team in next week’s poll — and make the necessary adjustments. What is of potential concern is that Kansas was “out-toughed” tonight against Villanova. There are some very talented teams who lack that “it” factor. It is still far too early to be questioning Kansas’ toughness and will to win, but it was obvious that Villanova seemed to want this game more than Kansas.

No. 25 Texas A&M outlasts No. 10 Gonzaga

Billy Kennedy
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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No. 25 Texas A&M made a statement on Turkey Day, as they knocked off No. 10 Gonzaga 62-61 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Danuel House led the way with 19 points for the Aggies while Tony Trocha-Morales finished with 14 points as Texas A&M picked up the win despite the fact that they did not score for the final eight minutes of the game.

Billy Kennedy’s club looked the part of an SEC contender, playing tough defense and keeping Gonzaga’s massive and talented front line in check. Perhaps most impressive was that they were able to hang on despite blowing a lead late in the second half, and that they did it with their defense. Gonzaga can score. They have big bodies inside and shooters to surround them, but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul struggle throughout the game while Kyle Wiltjer did not score in the final 12 minutes.

Kentucky, at this point, is the clear-cut favorite in the SEC, and while Vanderbilt looked really good in Maui this week, A&M looks like they’re going to end up giving the Commodores a run for their money for second-best in the league.

On the other hand, this loss wasn’t a total disaster for the Zags. They had the final possession with a chance to be a good team on a day when Domantas Sabonis was rendered completely ineffective. And, more importantly, point guard Josh Perkins was terrific. He did have a late turnover, but he scored all 15 of his points in the second half as he helped keep the Zags within striking distance.

Texas A&M will play the winner of Syracuse and No. 18 UConn for the title.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.