The first game of Saturday’s Final Four doubleheader features the second-seeded Villanova Wildcats (30-7) against the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (32-6) with a trip to the national championship on the line. Villanova and Kansas met in Final Four in 2018, with the Wildcats defeating the Jayhawks, 95-79, on the way to their third national title in program history.
Saturday’s tip-off is at 6:10 p.m. EST inside the Ceasers Superdome in New Orleans, LA. Kansas is a 4.5-point favorite, with the over-under total at 133.0 points.
What to Know – Villanova Wildcats
Villanova returns to the Final Four for the seventh time in school history and fourth under head coach Jay Wright. The Wildcats finished the regular season in second place in the Big East before knocking off Creighton in the Big East Tournament title game.
The Wildcats’ offense averages 71.9 points per game, hitting 43.4% of their shots from the field and 35.7% from beyond the arc. Villanova’s defense limits opponents to 62.2 points per game, 40.4% shooting from the floor and 30.1% from deep.
It wasn’t pretty, but Villanova did what it had to do to knock off Houston, 50-44, in the Elite Eight last Saturday. The Cougars were better statistically in almost every aspect of the game but connected on just 1-of-20 attempts from the arc. Jermaine Samuels led all scorers with 16 points.
The victory came with a cost as the starting guard Justin Moore went down with a torn ACL on one of the game’s final plays and will miss the remainder of the postseason.
What to Know – Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are making the team’s 16th Final Four appearance and fourth under head coach Bill Self. Kansas won both the Big 12 regular season and conference tournament titles.
Kansas is one of the best scoring teams in the nation, pouring in 78.3 points per game thanks to a 47.8% shooting effort from the floor and 35.6% output from the 3-point line. The Jayhawks surrender 67.3 points per game on defense, 41.0% shooting from the field, and 29.6% shooting from three.
Trailing by six at halftime, whatever coach Self told his team in the locker room worked as Kansas outscored the Miami Hurricanes 47-15 in the second half to cruise to a 76-50 Elite Eight victory last weekend. Ochai Agbaji led Kansas offensively, scoring 18 points in the victory.
The Jayhawks shot 59.3% in the second half and outrebounded the Hurricanes, 25-11, over the final half of play.
The Pick is In
What should have been an excellent Final Four matchup took a hit when Moore went down with a leg injury. The loss hurts the Wildcats’ offense that will try to keep up with the tempo of the Jayhawks. If Moore is healthy, we like Villanova’s chances, but his loss will be too much for the Wildcats to overcome against this talented Kansas squad.
The Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -4.5