Matchup: 1) Villanova Wildcats, 34-4 vs. 1) Kansas Jayhawks, 31-7
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Time: 8:49 PM
Line: Villanova -5.0
Unlike the other game, this is a matchup of juggernauts. It’s great to see a matchup of one seeds in the Final Four. Villanova was one of the most popular picks to win the tournament, while everyone seemed to overlook Kansas as a one seed. Everyone picked Duke or Michigan State out of that region, when the Big 12 winners were sitting right there. So let’s get into details here:
This game, unlike the Michigan-Loyola game, is going to be a fast-paced, offensive battle. Villanova is the #1 rated team in offensive efficiency according to kenpom.com, whereas Kansas is #5. In addition, this is a star-studded matchup. We have National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson, going up against bonafide star Malik Newman. Newman had 32 points against Duke in the Elite Eight, putting his team on his back as he scored all 13 points for Kansas in OT.
However, it’s not only these two players that are great. Villanova has Mikail Bridges, a player who’s a definite lottery pick if he decides to declare for the NBA Draft after the NCAA Tournament. Bridges is averaging 17.8 points per game this season and shoots nearly 44% from downtown. Furthermore, Nova has outstanding freshman Omari Spellman, the 6’9 forward who averages nearly 11 points and 8 rebounds, while shooting nearly 45% from downtown.
On the Jayhawks side, Svi Mykhailiuk, the senior guard, is averaging over 14 points per game and over 44% percent from three-point land. And how can I forget one of the best players in Kansas history, Devonte’ Graham. Graham is averaging over 17 points per game, 7 assists per game, and 4 rebounds per game in his senior season. His leadership and experience, in addition to his play, will be crucial for the Jayhawks.
Let’s get down to what I think is going to happen in this game. This game is going to be extremely fun to watch and will go back and forth with constant buckets. However, one stat that stood out to me was that Kansas is 40th in defensive efficiency according to kenpom.com, whereas Nova is 14th. I don’t think Kansas will be able to stop Villanova at any point in the game. There offensive is just too good for any team in the nation, let alone a slightly above average defensive team like Kansas. Give me Jay Wright and the Wildcats over Bill Self and the Jayhawks in this game.
Villanova 84, Kansas 76