|March Madness Final Four|| |
|Duke Blue Devils||+160||+155||+145|
|North Carolina Tar Heels||+500||+475||+500|
Kansas Jayhawks vs Villanova Wildcats - Saturday, April 2nd, 18:09 ET
A hugely exciting game between two of the very elite college programs going for another national championship.
The Jayhawks, coached by Bill Self, have made it to the final four for the third time since 2012 and are currently riding a wave of momentum that has seen them earn the nation's longest winning streak, currently sitting at nine games in a row.
They haven't reached the finals since 2012, where they lost to Kentucky, and are looking to be crowned champions for the first time since 2008.
As for the Wildcats, it's the third time in the last six tournaments that they've reached this stage and the last two times coach Jay Wright got here they went on to win the whole thing back in 2016 and 2018.
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to win March Madness tournament
The Wildcats are absolutely flying through this tournament with great success and with such a great program I expect them to be prepared and focused, especially defensively, when they take on the Jayhawks.
But when second-leading scorer Justin Moore suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the second half of their win in the last round against Houston, their chances of winning this tournament went up in smoke.
Moore was averaging almost 15 points per game and five rebounds per game in the regular season, while his average of 13 points per game during this tournament showed he was ready for this level of competition.
Kansas have been having a stunning season themselves, averaging 78 points per game, 24th highest in the country, and during the March Madness tournament, they are averaging 76 per game to show that they are capable of hanging with the very best.
During the regular season, they had four players averaging double-digit scoring numbers, with Ochai Agbaji averaging more than 18 per game. So far in this tournament that has dropped to just 12.3 points per game, but he seems ready to step up his performance and Remy Martin has proven to be one of the standout performers of the competition.
The Wildcats are capable of grinding games out and shortening them with their half-court offense, but the performances in this tournament so far tell me that Kansas will be too good going forward. If they can maintain their average for the tournament, I can't see Villanova matching them.
to beat Villanova Wildcats
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Duke Blue Devils vs North Carolina Tar Heels - Saturday, April 2nd, 20:49 ET
The biggest rivalry in college basketball will finally be seen on the March Madness stage as these two teams square off in the final four.
The Blue Devils have been excellent in their run to this stage, led by freshman forward and NBA hopeful Paolo Banchero they've been able to dispatch of tournament heavyweights Texas Tech and Arkansas so far.
The Tar Heels on the other hand have put shame to their number eight seeding pre-tournament, beating Baylor and UCLA, and then ending the Saint Peter fairytale in the last round.
Duke haven't reached a final since they were crowned champions in 2015, while NCU will be looking to make their first final since doing it in consecutive seasons in 2016 and 2017, where they ended an eight-year wait to be champions once again.
Chalk usually prevails
The seedings usually mean something, especially at March Madness and in college basketball, so it's hard to go against Duke despite the rivalry and performance of NCU so far in the tournament.
Duke tied for third with a 49.4% field-goal percentage during the regular season and do a great job of moving the ball around quickly to disorganize the opposition defense, averaging 16.6 assists per game. They also protect the ball well, averaging just 10.4 turnovers per game which were tied for 26th best in the country.
NCU are great at picking up rebounds averaging 37.6 per game this season and center Armando Bacot put in one of the best performances of the season when he got 22 rebounds on his own against Saint Peter's.
They'll need to maintain that, and get some big offensive rebounds at key moments to prevent Duke playing their normal game and pull off an upset.
Unfortunately, it just seems unlikely. Duke just comfortably beat one of the best defensive teams in the country and they'll be extra-keen to get one over on their rivals here.
Expect a close game, but Duke to eventually prevail with their better overall roster quality on show in New Orleans.
Duke Blue Devils
to beat North Carolina Tar Heels
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