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Guard Play is Key Factor in Nova-KU Contest

LOUISVILLE, KY. – 2013 was the last time Kansas and Villanova squared off on the hardwood, and that semifinal of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament did not end well for the Jayhawks. Villanova’s then sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono buried a jumper with 10.1 seconds remaining, sending the Jayhawks home from the Bahamas early.

“My only made shot of the game was that one shot,” Arcidiacono said. “I remember they were really young with Mason only a freshman and Ellis only a sophomore. We know though they’re that much better now. We’ve seen the last few years how good they’ve been.”

Kansas junior guard Frank Mason was guarding Arcidiacono on that made basket, and Mason was disappointed with the ending result of the game.

“Yeah, I remember that game,” Mason said. “It was a good game up until late. We couldn’t finish well.”

Flash forward to 2016 and several guards from the 2013 teams are set for a rematch. For Kansas, it’s Wayne Selden and Frank Mason. For Villanova, it’s Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart,and Jalen Brunson. With guard play determining the outcome in the Bahamas three years ago, it may very well boil down to guards once more in the 2016 tournament.

Villanova shot the ball lights out in their Sweet Sixteen game against the Miami Hurricanes, with the Arcidiacono, Hart and Brunson trio combining for 40 points going 5-8 from three-point range.

“We just need to stay in front of them,” Kansas sophomore guard Devonte’ Graham said. “You can’t foul them, because they’re great free throw shooters. You just have to contain them as best as you can.”

Villanova is just as wary of Kansas’ three-headed guard monster as well. Mason, Graham, and Selden have been staples in Kansas’ starting lineup since the beginning of the season.

“We have to contain them; we have to limit them,” Villanova freshman guard Jalen Brunson said. “They’re going to make their shots, but we just have to try to limit them as much as possible.”

Tip off for the Kansas-Villanova game is slated for 7:40 p.m.