The 2018 Final Four will have two No. 1 seeds battling it out in the second national semifinal game next Saturday night while the other matchup is mind-boggling, especially if you are a bettor. It’s one thing for the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers to make the Final Four for the first time since 1963 when they won it all. But it’s another thing for the South Region champion Ramblers to be just 5-point underdogs as a No. 11 seed going up against a much more experienced team in the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines from the West.
After all, the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks from the Midwest are also 5-point underdogs versus the East’s Villanova Wildcats, who are strong favorites to cut down the nets for the second time in three years on Monday, April 2nd. Did you get that? Kansas and Loyola are in the same boat, yet one of these teams was ranked in the Top 10 much of the year while the other might go down as the biggest Cinderella ever by becoming the first-ever double-digit seed to advance to the championship game. While the Ramblers are getting a ton of respect from both oddsmakers and bettors, the Jayhawks seem to be underrated here.
The question is, how will Kansas match up with Villanova in what some might think is the real national championship game? You would think whoever hits more 3-pointers will likely win, but the Jayhawks were more than lucky that many of them fell against the Blue Devils on Sunday. Poor shot selection could have easy been their downfall, especially considering they still got the benefit of some key calls down the stretch, and Duke had plenty of chances themselves to go back to the Final Four for the 17th time by taking the ball inside.
The Wildcats are quite simply the best team in America right now because they can play virtually any style and survive even if their long-range shots are not falling like they were not on Sunday. The Texas Tech Red Raiders shot 5-for-20 from 3-point range and made more trifectas than Villanova. The Wildcats converted just one-third of their shots overall and yet still won their fourth game of the tournament by double digits.
Anyway, I called a Villanova-Michigan national championship game going into the weekend, and I’m sticking to my prediction. I also believe head coach John Beilein’s Wolverines are the only team who can prevent the Wildcats from winning the NCAA title again. That’s who my money is on to win it all a week from today.