The Kansas Jayhawks will square off against the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday evening in New Orleans. Read for a preview of this marquee matchup as a trip to the national championship hangs in the balance.
Final Four Betting Preview: Villanova vs. Kansas 4/2/22
In a battle of prestige college basketball programs, the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks and #2 seed Villanova Wildcats will face off in the first of the two Final Four games on Saturday in New Orleans.
In a tournament which has featured deep runs by low seeds and Cinderella stories, this year’s Final Four is going to be classic, blue-blood basketball programs going head-to-head.
Bill Self and his Jayhawks have been calm, cool and collected all season and are now through to the Final Four, while Jay Wright and the Wildcats have made easy work of every opponent they’ve faced here in March and have a chance to win their third national championship since 2016.
In the Elite Eight, Kansas took down the Miami Hurricanes with a roaring 2nd half to get here, while Villanova handled a strong Houston Cougars squad.
On Kansas’ side, they found themselves in a bit of trouble at the end of the first half as they were down by six points going into the locker room. However, right out of the gate in the 2nd half, this team showed why they deserve to be in the Final Four.
It was arguably the most impressive half of college basketball anyone has seen over the past few years and Villanova should be sweating bullets as they watch the film from that half.
Kansas outscored Miami 47-15 and seemed almost incapable of missing a shot or getting to the rim. The numbers at the end of the game tell the tale in that one.
Kansas shot 50% from the field as they were 29-58 compared to Miami’s 19-55. They shot 36% from beyond the arc on 5-14 from three-point attempts and destroyed Miami’s ability to do the same as the Hurricanes were a meager 3-21 in that regard.
The Jayhawks’ shining stars are players like senior guard Ochai Agbaji who put up 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in that Elite Eight matchup. They also got an excellent performance from senior forward David McCormack who put up 15 points on 6-7 shooting.
Off the bench, senior guard Remy Martin and senior forward Mitch Lightfoot have been very reliable as both put up 9 points on 4 of 9 and 3 of 4 shooting, respectively, and played a combined 41 minutes.
Under Head Coach Self, this Jayhawks team has been a well-oiled machine on both sides of the basketball as usual, and this may very well be the year that Self gets his 2nd chip.
On Villanova’s side, they’re used to being here just like Kansas. The Wildcats took down a formidable Houston Cougars squad to move on to the Final Four. Houston had just beaten the #1 seed Arizona Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen to move on, so it makes Villanova’s Elite Eight victory that much more impressive.
Head Coach Wright’s numbers and experience speaks for itself, but there is a big question mark with this team right now. Villanova will have to face an excellent Kansas team without starting junior guard Justin Moore who suffered a torn achilles tendon in the Elite Eight game.
Moore has been a mainstay on the floor for Villanova this season, but as Coach Wright said after the team’s Elite Eight victory, “Other guys can step up, and we can be a good team without him.”
The players who will have to step up are going to be senior forward Jermaine Samuels who put up a double-double in the Elite Eight with 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting and 10 rebounds. Additionally both senior guard Collin Gillespie and sophomore forward Eric Dixon will play a pivotal role on Saturday, (and potentially beyond), for the Wildcats as Coach Wright stated in his post-game press conference.
That’s just to name a few players and the fact of the matter is that Coach Wright is absolutely correct when he spoke to the depth and reliability of his team.
If you’re betting on this one, it’s hard not to take the Jayhawks. Justin Moore’s injury doesn’t make it an automatic W for Kansas, but it’s going to be tough going for Villanova in this matchup.
Both teams’ starters stepping up is going to make the difference on Saturday. If Kansas wants to capitalize on Villanova’s disadvantage, then Agbaji and McCormack need to play the way they have all tournament, and specifically, against Miami.
The money line has the Jayhawks at -200 with a 4.5 point spread in their favor. Take the money line not the spread. Villanova will ultimately fall but keep this game very close and it will end in a one possession result.
The over/under is 134. Take the under as the name of the game for Villanova has been defense and Kansas hasn’t been too shabby in that regard this year either.
Final score prediction: Kansas 61, Villanova 59