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Final Four Predictions 2018: Villanova vs Kansas

Two blue-blooded teams face off this Saturday night with hopes of advancing to the NCAA basketball national championship. Here are the Final Four Predictions 2018 for Villanova vs Kansas.

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NCAA Tournament Final Four

  • Kansas Jayhawks vs Villanova Wildcats
  • When: March 31, 2018, 8:49 PM ET
  • Where: Alamodome
  • Spread: Villanova -5
  • Total: 155

Kansas vs Villanova Analysis

As one of the favorites to win the national championship, the Kansas Jayhawks lived up to the hype and racked up impressive wins that included the 7th ranked Kentucky and 6th ranked Virginia.

Though Kansas also had a couple of concerning losses to unranked teams during the season, which had some folks making questions whether or not they could go the distance, they nevertheless silenced naysayers by winning the SEC tournament and now find themselves among the last four teams in the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats also started the season as a favorite to win the championship and, in fact, kept their status for most of the year. However, after a couple of late-season losses, Villanova lost the top seed to Virginia.

Nevertheless, with the other top seeds already out of competition, the Wildcats now find themselves lusting after cutting down the nets in the national championship game.

Why Kansas Can Win

The Jayhawks’ offense has been one of the best this season, averaging 81.4 points per game which is the 29th best average this season.

But, they’ve also been playing solid defense since the start of this tournament and if they can slow down Villanova they should be able to make it to the finals.

Also, Kansas’ overtime victory over Duke might just give the Jayhawks the momentum they need to beat the Wildcats.

Kansas backcourt trio of Graham, Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, however, need to start knocking down shots from long range to make sure to cause as much damage as they can.

Devonte' Graham has been the Jayhawks’ point man, doing whatever the team needs him to do to get the win and has been key to get them this far. Graham finished his last game with 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

7-foot Udoka Azubuike also contributed to Kansas’ win over duke and gives head coach Jay Wright some wiggle room to match Nova’s front line. Sophomore Malik Newman has also stepped up and could be the Jayhawks X-factor; Newman is averaging 25.7 points and 5.7 rebounds and is hitting 48.1 percent of his three-point attempts since the second round.

Why Villanova Can Win

Through both their initial game, the Wildcats didn’t face too much competition; however, they had a hard fight to defeat West Virginia in the Sweet 16 and then a big win over No. 3 Texas Tech in the Elite Eight.

The Wildcats have been a tough team to beat this season because of their great offense, one that averages 86.6 points per game on 50% shooting from the floor. They’re also making around 12 three-pointers a game.

Their biggest weakness, however, has been defense. Villanova was allowing 70.2 per game during the regular season, but since this tournament started they’ve picked up the slack which makes them very hard to beat.

The Wildcats have held opponents in the NCAA tournament to 64 points per game; should they play well on defense this Saturday, the chances are good they’ll be able to knock out the Jayhawks and advance to the finals.

Villanova’s X-factor is their excellent marksmanship from three-point range. If they can get away from Kansas’ defense from long range, it might be easy pickings for the Wildcats.

Jalen Brunson is this team’s leader, but it’s Mikal Bridges that could turn the tide to their favor. The 6-6 guard is a multi-dimensional player that can open up long-range shooting options for the Wildcats.

Offense vs Defense Analysis

Villanova has the offensive edge in this game as the leading scoring team in the nation. The Jayhawks’ offense is also very good, but not as good as that of Nova’s.

Villanova also has the edge on defense; the Wildcats have held their tournament opponents to 64 PPG, compared to Kansas who has allowed an average of 74 PPG during this tourney.

Pick: It’s going to be a tit-for-tat battle in the first half of the game, but I expect the Wildcats to run away in the second half and end up winning.

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