#1 Villanova vs. #1 Kansas NCAA Final Four Preview

By College Basketball

Villanova has been a moneymaker in March. The ‘Cats have not just won, but covered four games to get to this point, the same which can not be said for Kansas.

But the oddsmakers have challenged the ‘Cats to make it five and spotted Kansas five points. The winner of this game will be the decided favorite on Monday night.

My Pick

After cashing ‘Nova for the third time last weekend, I figured to be on the gravy train again this weekend. I also assumed it would closer to a pick so I took a closer look at the total.

Both teams play four out with one in, though Mikal Bridges is bigger than any of the other perimeter players that will see the floor and could be a, or even the only, difference-maker. Both teams also want to push (why wouldn’t you when you can shoot it like they can?) but rarely lose control, which figures to make for a pleasant game to watch.

All of those guys can score it but they defend too, though some better than others. Kansas ought to attack Phil Booth and Donte DiVincenzo; Villanova will go after Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Kansas is a little more aggressive defensively, while ‘Nova would rather force a bad shot than play for the turnover. In a game with so many proficient ball-handlers, I prefer the Villanova approach

In the paint, it’s Omari Spellman vs. Udoka Azubuike. The size difference in the two is enough that each will have his challenges in defending the other. Azubuike has to extend on Spellman’s three-point shot and Spellman must keep a bigger man off the glass. Neither man will be the focal point of his team’s offense, though.

Both teams are so good offensively that neither should fail to reach 75, but both defend so well that neither should ring up more than 85. That’s where I get my small lean on the over, but not anything worth a play.

When you cash a team a few times in a row, it’s hard to fade it the next time out but that’s the play here. I think Villanova will win the game because of what Bridges could be and it’s a tad deeper. But when a team covers this many high-profile games in a row, the markets react. Sometimes it’s as simple as zigging when the crowd zags and that’s all I’m doing here.

Plus, Villanova hasn’t beaten a team as good as Duke all season.

Free Pick: Kansas +5

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