Philadelphia – The first college basketball team has fallen for the fifth time this season. No. Villanova held top Kansas for a dramatic 56-55 victory in front of a crowded Wells Fargo center on Saturday.
Jermaine Samuels led Villanova (9-2) with 15 points and the third marker with 20 seconds on the clock. The Samuels clutch basket almost ensures Jayhawks’ No. 1 spot is abandoned when the new AP poll falls.
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Facing its first home game of the season, Kansas (9-2) dropped the stretch when it needed the most answers. The Jayhawks were in the driver’s seat with a 55-51 advantage, with 1:49 remaining but failed to capture another point.
The last five Kansas possessions resulted in a one-and-a-half lost front by Christian Braun, a Devon Dotson circle, a lost jumper by David McCormack, another lost front and then Dotson shortly before. buzzer.
The Jayhawks late-game races function as a microcosm of the 2019 college basketball season.
“It’s been one of those years. There is not just one team that dominates,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “(Kansas) is definitely worthy of a No. 1 ranking, and going on the road to college basketball is tough, especially this time of year.”
With the loss of Kansas, the AP No. 1 now holds a dismal 7-5 record for the season. Five defeats by the top team before January are the most in the history of the AP poll. The reversals include Duke offshore’s stunning defeat against Stephen F. Austin, Kentucky’s loss to Evansville and Louisville’s disappointment against Texas Tech.
“It will be difficult to hold the top spot for anyone at this time,” Wright said.
Saturday’s result is particularly remarkable, given that Villanova has failed to put together a complete effort and is still coming out on top. The Wildcats had the second-worst shooting performance of the season, converting just 35 percent of the field’s field goal attempts. Wright’s team also fired 41 3-point attempts for a lack of internal presence.
Regardless of what the new Group 1 number in the AP poll is, how long the top team can maintain its position is the real question.
Kansas’s hiccup against Villanova ensures that the college basketball crown stays on for grabs.