The madness of March has begun to wind down as the initial pool of 68 teams has been cut down to four remaining teams. Villanova, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina make up the “Blue Blood” Final Four in this year’s 2022 NCAA March Madness bracket. Villanova will face off against the Kansas Jayhawks at 6:09 down in the New Orleans Superdome.
- Villanova +4
- Villanova +170 moneyline
- Over/Under 132.5
The Kansas Jayhawks have mostly breezed through the tournament so far with the team most recently beating Miami 76-50 in the Elite 8. Kansas is a deep squad and led by Big 12 Player of the Year Ochai Agbaji although he has not played his best basketball so far in the tournament. The Jayhawks put on an impressive performance in the Elite 8 after they went into the half trailing by 6 points. Their 47-15 performance in the second half was enough to secure the victory and build momentum heading into this game.
Justin Moore’s Injury
One of the largest storylines heading into this game is the injury to Villanova standout Justin Moore who tore his Achilles in the previous win over Houston. Moore is second on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game and also is very valuable on the defensive end. The devastating injury gives a very similar feel to what happened with Collin Gillespie just prior to the tournament last year.
The impressive play of Moore will be missed, but the larger concern is the lack of depth behind him. Caleb Daniels has been effective as a sixth man this season but will be launched into the starting lineup and there is no other bench player that averages over 10 minutes per game. Jordan Longino is also one of Nova’s regular rotation players and has averaged 1.8 points in 8.6 minutes but he also suffered a season-ending injury in the tournament.
Villanova’s Controlled Pace
One of the biggest factors in Villanova’s play is the controlled pace that they play at. Nova ranks 342nd in team possessions per game and makes sure to use just about every second of the shot clock. It may not be the most exciting basketball but it is effective nonetheless.
The experienced squad plays the game at their own pace and holds a defensive identity which has been translating to success. Their grueling 50-44 win over Houston is an excellent display of the way the Wildcats secure victory. This slow style of play suggests that the under could be a worthy bet. The under is 8-1 in Villanova’s last nine games on a neutral site and if Nova wants to get a victory, their work must be done on the defensive end.
This will be a difficult task against the Kansas offense which ranks 23rd in the nation in scoring at 78.3 points per game. Both Villanova and Kansas are coming into this game riding 9 game winning streaks. Each program is familiar with success in the tournament as Villanova most recently won the national title in 2018 while Kansas’ last title was in 2008.
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