Kansas (31-7) vs Villanova (34-4)
When: Saturday, March 31st 2018
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Time: 8:49 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: Villanova -4/155.5
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With an NCAA Tournament full of major upsets and top seeds going down all throughout March Madness, its still nice to see a couple of blue bloods still alive. Two No. 1 seeds in the Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats survived all the chaos to meet in the national semifinals from San Antonio on Saturday night. Both teams are just one win away from facing either Loyola Chicago or Michigan, but can’t be caught looking ahead to Monday. This game will feature two of the best point guards in the country in Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham and Villanova’s Jalen Brunson – both of who were named one of the five Wooden Award finalists. Brunson has led the Wildcats into the Final Four for the second time in three seasons despite not having his best tournament, scoring 16 points or fewer in three of the team’s first four games in this event. He also has failed to record more than four assists in any NCAA Tournament game. Villanova is one win away from tying the school record of 35 set by the 2016 national championship team. Graham has also slumped in March, but helped the Jayhawks avoid a third consecutive Elite Eight loss. Graham has yet to shoot above 40 percent in any of the four tournament games, but he is getting plenty of help from Malik Newman. The former Mississippi State guard scored all 13 of the Jayhawks’ points in overtime against Duke in the Elite Eight, finishing with a career-high 32 to help Kansas reach the Final Four for the second time since winning the 2008 title.
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The Jayhawks go small and spread the ball around, boasting five double-digit scorers on the season – including Graham, who is part of a four-guard offense. Their big man underneath – Udoka Azubuike – is having a terrific tournament after missing the Big 12 Tournament with a knee injury. Azubuike is shooting 77.2% from the field this season – by far the best in the nation. Newman has drained 13 3-pointers in the last three games, averaging nearly 26 points per contest in that span. Lagerald Vick has contributed either 13 or 14 points in all four games of the tournament thus far. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk recorded a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with five assists in KU’s win over Duke in the Elite Eight.
The Wildcats have cruised through March Madness, winning by an average of 18.2 points. They are coming off a 71-59 win over Texas Tech, but it wasn’t easy. Villanova shot only 33.3% in that Elite Eight victory, finishing with 71 points – well below the team’s nation-leading average of 86.6 points. They were also just 4-of-24 from behind the 3-point line – well below their season average of 40%. Mikal Bridges missed all five of his 3-point attempts, ending his streak of 11 straight games with at least three 3s, including 10 games in which he made at least 40 percent of his long range shots.
The Jayhawks are going to need more from Graham in this game, but that will be tough against what I think has been the best team in the country this season. This game will be tight for the first half, but the Wildcats will pull away in the second and cruise to a victory. Villanova is too good offensively.
Pick: Villanova -5
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big 12.
- Wildcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
- Wildcats are 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wildcats are 22-8 ATS in their last 30 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 neutral site games.
- Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
- Wildcats are 52-21-1 ATS in their last 74 non-conference games.
- Wildcats are 37-18 ATS in their last 55 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Jayhawks are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
- Jayhawks are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 vs. Big East.
- Over is 12-4 in Wildcats last 16 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 9-3 in Wildcats last 12 vs. Big 12.
- Over is 17-6 in Wildcats last 23 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 14-5 in Wildcats last 19 overall.
- Over is 14-6 in Wildcats last 20 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 7-1 in Jayhawks last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 7-1 in Jayhawks last 8 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 5-1-1 in Jayhawks last 7 overall.
- Over is 5-1 in Jayhawks last 6 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 5-1-1 in Jayhawks last 7 neutral site games.
- Over is 4-1 in Jayhawks last 5 non-conference games.
- Over is 6-2 in Jayhawks last 8 NCAA Tournament games.
- Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
- Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.