Kansas vs Villanova prediction: NCAA Tournament Final Four pick and college basketball game preview.
Kansas vs Villanova Game Preview, How To Watch
Date: Saturday, April 2
Game Time: 6:09 pm
Venue: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
How To Watch: TBS
Records: Kansas (1 seed, 32-6)
Villanova (2 seed, 30-7)
Why Villanova Will Win
You can’t beat Kansas if you don’t hit threes.
That was a key part of the Miami problem in its 76-50 loss to the Jayhawks – at least, it was a part of the issue. The team couldn’t hit threes. That’s not what it was about.
You have to be able to shoot over the top of the Jayhawks, and one 3-of-21 performance from three later, the close game turned ugly.
Villanova can shoot threes. That’s what it’s about.
Along with being the best free throw shooting team in college basketball – the Wildcats were brilliant at closing out games over the first two weekends – bombing away from three is part of the program.
It didn’t go off in the 50-44 win over Houston – connecting on 5-of-21 from the outside – but it did enough.
Unlike several teams in this tournament that didn’t have an answer when things weren’t going well in one phase, Villanova adapted.
Houston’s No. 1 defense was doing its job, so Villanova stepped up its own D, held the Cougars to 1-of-20 from three, and because it’s what this team does. It hit all 15 free throws in the win.
There are problems and concerns, but this is a smart, veteran team that doesn’t make mistakes, plays great D, and …
Why Kansas Will Win
Villanova is more than just one guy, but this isn’t a deep team. It lost one of its heart-and-soul stars to a torn Achilles tendon in the win over Houston, and Moore won’t easily be replaced.
Yes, Villanova attacks the glass from all sides and with all of the parts, and it does a good job of handling the bigger teams without a problem – it helps when you make a slew of your shots – but now it’s going against a rebounding machine of a Jayhawk team that’s also fantastic at defending the three.
It handled Providence’s three-point shooters, destroyed Creighton on the boards, and held on despite getting hit with 12 threes, and it should be able to crank up the D enough to make Villanova work on the inside.
And it’s normally really, really good on the free throw line and should be able to match Villanova shot for shot, but …
Kansas vs Villanova: What’s Going To Happen
Kansas can’t get away with whiffing on half of its free throws like it did in the win over Miami.
It won’t have to worry about it. It’ll hit them this time.
The combination of inside game, outside shooting, and the defensive ability to force a few turnovers against a team that doesn’t make mistakes will be just enough to get by.
The Big 12 prepared Kansas for this moment. Team after team of strong defenses battled the Jayhawks in tough games and nasty battles, and Villanova will do the same.
The loss of Moore will be a big problem – again, the depth won’t be there – and Villanova won’t try to crank up the tempo too much, but it can’t get into a half-court battle, either.
It won’t be anything pretty, but Kansas will grind on to Monday night.
Kansas vs Villanova Prediction, NCAA Tournament Final Four, Lines
Prediction: Kansas 71, Villanova 65
Line: Kansas -4, o/u: 133
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5
Kansas vs Villanova Must See Rating: 5
5: THIS Final Four of national championship bluebloods
1: The Oscars red carpet pre-thing