1 Kansas Jayhawks (31-7) vs. Villanova Wildcats (34-4) -5
The second Final Four semifinal features a pair of No. 1 seeds going to battle. The Big 12 Champion Kansas Jayhawks will face off against the Big East Champion Villanova Wildcats.
The Wildcats enter the Final Four on a seven-game winning streak. They lost their season-finale. However, the Jayhawks ran through the conference tournament and have played well in the NCAA Tournament. After a 16-point win over the Penn Quakers in the first-round, the Jayhawks won their last three games by four points apiece. Their Elite 8 win came over the Duke Blue Devils.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats had a slightly easier time in their run to the Final Four. They have won nine games in a row. The last eight victories have all come by double digits. Their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 matchups were won by a total of 24 points. They defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers and Texas Tech Red Raiders by 12 points apiece. Now, the Wildcats are looking to take down their third consecutive Big 12 opponent on Saturday.
This should be a high scoring affair with elite shooting. The Jayhawks are averaging 81 points per game this season. They’ve scored at least 80 points in three of the NCAA Tournament wins. In fact, their lowest scoring output was a 76-60 win over the Quakers. Defensively, the Jayhawks are giving up 71 points per game. They gave up a team-high 81 points against the Blue Devils in the Elite 8.
The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring with 86.6 points per game. They shot the lights out in the first three rounds of the tournament. However, the Wildcats only scored 71 points in the Elite 8 win over the Red Raiders. It was their first time below 80 points in the NCAA Tournament. Defensively, the Wildcats are giving up 70 points per game.
Both teams are in the Top 30 of scoring. They are also giving up at least 70 points per game. As a result, this should be a game capable of reaching the 90-point mark. They also know how the share the wealth, offensively.
In all, 11 players enter the game scoring in double figures. The Jayhawks come into the game with five double digit scorers. The Wildcats have six double digit scorers. Five of the players are scoring at least 14 points per game.
Jalen Brunson leads the Wildcats with 19 points per game. Mikal Bridges is pouring in 17.8 points per game. Devonte’ Graham leads the Jayhawks with 17.2 points per game. He is joined by Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman with just over 14 points per game apiece. Moreover, all of these players are terrific shooters from distance.
The Jayhawks make 40.3 percent of their 3-point attempts. The Wildcats are not far behind at 40 percent from long range. However, these teams don’t have to rely on 3-pointers to score. The Jayhawks connect on almost 56 percent of their 2-point field goal attempts. The Wildcats are even better at over 58 percent of their 2-point attempts. Therefore, it’s going to be difficult to take away all of the offensive weapons, especially if they are used properly. Meaning, there is no reason to attempt bad 3-pointers when a better shot is available.
Score Prediction- Villanova 94 – Kansas 90