Two of college basketball’s elite programs will begin a home-and-home series in 2018. The Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks are now set to play next season and the year after that, as the Big East’s best and Big XII’s best are guaranteed to square off at least once in each of the next two years.
The 2018-19 edition of this contest will take place out in Lawrence at venerable Phog Allen Fieldhouse. No disrespect to any of the hostile environments of the Big East, but it is likely that ‘Nova won’t be in a tougher place to play than the Phog next season. They will be tested and then some to say the very least. The year after that, Kansas has to come out to Wells Fargo Center in front of what should be a rowdy ‘Nova crowd.
The fact that this is a true home-and-home series is something worth praising. So, shout out to Villanova and Kansas for being able to get this done. Typically, you see these kinds of games in neutral site venues. While that’s nice and all, it’s doubly nice to se them take place in the teams’ home dwellings. Especially when you consider the circumstances here, with the Phog being one of the premier venues in the sport.
The all-time series between the ‘Cats and Jayhawks is split down the middle, 3-3. Their first meeting took place on March 18, 1968, a meeting in which Kansas won 55-49. They then took them down nearly 40 years later on January 2, 2004 in an 86-79 victory. Villanova would answer the bell the following year, winning 83-62 on January 22, 2005.
The teams wouldn’t meet again until the 2008 Sweet 16. That meeting was won by Kansas, 72-57, en route to the Jayhawks’ National Championship win. ‘Nova, though, would answer back in the next two meetings. The first came in 2013, when Ryan Arcidiacono hit a game-winner to help sink the Jayhawks and win the Battle 4 Atlantis. Then, of course, the Wildcats got the better of the Jayhawks in the 2016 Elite Eight in Louisville. Y’all know what happened later on in that tournament.