Jan. 22, 2005
Wow, Kansas got a real wake-up call on Saturday as Villanova was impressive in handing the Jayhawks their first loss of the season.
As I wrote recently, the Wildcats have been a hard-luck team with injuries and close losses. But coach Jay Wright's team came ready to play against Kansas, as Curtis Sumpter and Allan Ray were virtually unstoppable, combining to hit 15-of-26 shots while scoring 52 points in Villanova's 83-62 victory.
While it was a great win for the home team, this could serve as a positive for Kansas in the long run.
Give Villanova credit for being fired up after a tough loss to Boston College earlier in the week. Some teams would have been deflated after that defeat.
While it was a great win for the home team, this could serve as a positive for Kansas in the long run. Bill Self sent a message in the second half when he sat Keith Langford, Aaron Miles and J. R. Giddens. The Jayhawks have a lot of talent and potential, but they have not played like a national championship contender at times this season.
Just look at some of the close calls, against the likes of Vermont, South Carolina, Iowa State and Nebraska. The Cornhuskers had a shot to win at Lawrence at the end of the game.
Self will have this team motivated after this loss. Kansas has some great kids and they will bounce back from this setback. The Jayhawks visit Baylor on Tuesday.
The Big 12 also saw Oklahoma is a team to be reckoned with after it beat Texas in a thriller. After Taj Gray fouled out, the Sooners could have fallen apart. Kevin Bookout and company got to the winner's circle and you have to be impressed with Kelvin Sampson's team, especially at home. Just ask Jim Calhoun about visiting Norman, baby!
The Longhorns fight and scrap and play the same style as their coach's personality. Rick Barnes' squad could have struggled with the news that P. J. Tucker is academically ineligible, but Texas gave it 100 percent on the road.
Daniel Gibson showed why he is one of the nation's premier diaper dandies with another solid showing. In the end, Oklahoma pulled it out and showed why it will be a tough squad to beat.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.