Villanova Wildcats (34-4) at Kansas Jayhawks (30-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday March 31, 2018, 8:49 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Kansas Jayhawks +5 -- Over/Under: 154.5
A pair of number 1 seeds go head-to-head with a spot in the national championship game on the line, as the Villanova Wildcats battle the Kansas Jayhawks in a college basketball matchup on Saturday.
The Villanova Wildcats punched their ticket to the Final Four as the representative of the East region following a 71-59 win over Texas Tech in the Elite 8 on Sunday. Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 15 points along with a team-high 4 assists. Mikal Bridges, Eric Paschall and Donte DiVincenzo each had 12 points, with Bridges adding a pair of steals while Paschall chipped in a team-high 14 rebounds for the double-double and DiVincenzo added 8 boards of his own in the win. Omari Spellman chipped in 11 points with a pair of blocks to round out the scoring in double figures for ‘Nova in the winning effort. Brunson leads the Wildcats with an average of 19.2 points and 4.6 assists per game while Spellman leads Villanova in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Villanova is scoring the most points per game in the country with 86.6 points per game on the 6th-best field goal percentage in the nation, shooting 49.9% from the field. The Wildcats are also shooting 40% from 3-point range in addition to the 8th-best free throw percentage in D-I at 78% from the charity stripe.
The Kansas Jayhawks booked their ticket to San Antonio thanks to an 85-81 overtime win over Duke in the Elite 8 on Sunday to represent the Midwest region. Malik Newman led Kansas with 32 points on 8 of 19 shooting with 5 threes along with an 11 of 12 mark from the foul line and 3 steals. Lagerald Vick came 2nd with 14 points while Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk each chipped in 11 points to round out the foursome of double digit scorers for the Jayhawks in the win, with both shooting 4 for 10 with 3 triples, while Graham added 6 rebounds and a team-high 6 assists and Mykhailiuk chipped in a share of the team-high with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Silvio De Sousa also contributed 10 rebounds of his own in the winning effort for the Jayhawks. Graham leads Kansas with an average of 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game while Azubuike leads Kansas on the glass with 7.1 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Kansas is scoring 81.4 points per game on 49.3% shooting from the field, 40.3% from 3-point range and 70.6% from the foul line this season.
We will update with trends once they’ve been released.
I will be the first to admit that I wrote Kansas off against Duke and got that pick wrong as the Jayhawks hung with the Blue Devils and eventually just were too much for Duke to put away. However, Villanova has arguably been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament and in the country as well. The Wildcats just have this uncanny ability to fire on all cylinders and while Kansas has just as much talent and balance, I think Villanova is a slight step ahead offensively and will bag a win and cover and punch their ticket to the title game here.