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Final Four 2018 Betting Analysis and Insights

Final Four 2018 Betting Analysis and Insights

The Kansas Jayhawks will face the Villanova Wildcats in one of the Final Four games on Saturday night as both teams will be trying to advance to the NCAA national championship game.

NCAA Tournament Final Four
Kansas Jayhawks vs Villanova Wildcats

  • When: March 31, 2018, 8:49 PM ET
  • Where: Alamodome
  • Spread: Villanova -5
  • Total: 155

Kansas vs Villanova Analysis

The Jayhawks came into the season as one of the favorites to win the championship and lived up to the hype with a fast start to the season, which included wins over 7th ranked Kentucky and 6th ranked West Virginia.

After a couple of losses to unranked teams, there were some doubts that the Jayhawks had the toughness to go the distance, but they have proved their doubters wrong by winning the SEC tournament and advancing this far into the NCAA tournament.

Like the Jayhawks, the Wildcats came into the season as a favorite to win the championship and for most of the year, Villanova looked the part. After a couple of late-season losses, the Wildcats lost the top seed to Virginia but with the other top seeds already knocked out of the tournament, the Wildcats are in a very good position to cut down the nets.

Why Kansas Can Win This Game

The Jayhawks have one of the best offenses in the country, averaging 81.4 points per game, which was the 29th best average this season. Since the start of the tournament, they have been playing very well on the defensive end as well and if they can figure out a way to slow down Villanova’s offense, they should be in good shape to advance to the finals.

Kansas’ overtime battle against Duke was epic without either team letting up until the buzzer. That the Jayhawks came out as victors should give you some insight as to whether they have what it takes to defeat Villanova.

The backcourt trio of Graham, Malik Newman, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk would do well, however, to have at least two of the three hitting the mark from long range for this ball pick-heavy offense to cause problems.

Devonte' Graham has been Kansas’ X-factor, doing whatever the team needs him to do, which has helped his team get this far. In their last game, he finished with 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and the team will be hoping for another big game from the senior on Saturday night.

But, 7-footer Udoka Azubuike may also turn into a legitimate threat that tilts the scales for Kansas as he should give the Jay Wright the ability to matchup against Nova’s front line. Also, and overlooked player for Kansas is Malik Newman; the sophomore guard is averaging 25.7 points and 5.7 rebounds while hitting 48.1 percent of his threes since the second round.

Why Villanova Can Win This Game

The Wildcats road to the Final Four wasn’t hard-pressed through both their initial games against Radford and then Alabama. They suffered to pass through from the Sweet 16 by defeating a feisty West Virginia and then getting away with a win over another Big 12 team, No. 3 Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

The Wildcats were tough to beat this season because they had the best offense in the country, averaging 86.6 points per game and shoots at 50% from the floor while making around 12 three-pointers a game. Without a doubt, offensively there’s no other team with a better output than Villanova.

The biggest knock against them was their defense, which was allowing 70.2 points per game during the regular season, but they have been playing very good defense during their NCAA tournament run, which will make them very hard to defeat.

The Wildcats have held their NCAA tournament opponents to 64 points per game, and if they play well on the defensive end on Saturday, they should be able to knock off the Jayhawks and advance to the tournament finals for the second time in three seasons.

Villanova’s X-factor is their three-point shooting, which has gotten them this far. If they continue shooting the ball well from long range, they shouldn’t have any problem defeating Kansas. Jalen Brunson is the engine that drives this squad and is the team's best player, but it’s Mikal Bridges, a multi-dimensional scorer and projected NBA lottery pick as a 6-6 two-way guard, who will need to step up for the Wildcats if they’re to advance to the championship. He went 0-for-5 from three-point range against Texas Tech and a big game from him would be ideal to take pressure off Brunson and counter Kansas’ perimeter shooting.

Offense vs Defense

The offensive edge in this game goes to the Wildcats, who scored more points per game than any other team in the country. The Jayhawks offense is also very good, but not as good as Villanova’s.

The defensive edge also goes to the Wildcats, who have held their opponents to 64 points per game during the tournament, compared to Kansas, which allows an average of 74 points per game.

Pick: I expect an even first half, but the Wildcats will dominate the second half and get the win.

 
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