2016 NCAA Tournament
South Region – Regional Final
#2 Villanova Wildcats vs #1 Kansas Jayhawks
Saturday, March 26, 2016, 8:49 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
KFC Yum! Center – Louisville, Kentucky
Opening Line: Kansas -3
Current Line: Kansas -2 1/2
Opening Total: 145
Current Total: 145 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas -140 / Villanova +120
Current Money Line: Kansas -135 / Villanova +115
The 32-5 Villanova Wildcats and 33-4 Kansas Jayhawks will meet Saturday in the South Regional final in Louisville with a berth in the Final Four in Houston next week on the line. The Wildcats are the #2 seed and Kansas is the #1 seed in the region. The winner between Kansas and Villanova will face the West Champion, either the Oregon Ducks or Oklahoma Sooners in the Final Four next week.
Kansas leads the series 3-2 against Villanova. The Wildcats won the last meeting in 2013 in a tournament in the Bahamas. Kansas beat Villanova in the 2008 Sweet 16 en route to winning the national title.
Villanova is coached by Jay Wright. The Wildcats are making their 13th trip to the Elite Eight and seeking a fifth trip to the Final Four. Villanova hasn’t been to the Elite Eight since 2009. Villanova won the Big East regular season title with a 16-2 record. The Wildcats beat Georgetown in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament and Providence in the semifinals before losing to Seton Hall in the championship. The loss snapped a five game winning streak for Villanova.
Villanova beat #15 seed UNC-Asheville 86-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Brooklyn and beat #7 Iowa 87-68 in the second round. The Wildcats shot 62% Thursday in a 92-69 rout over #3 seed Miami Thursday in the regional semifinals.
Villanova is coached by Jay Wright. The Wildcats have losses to Oklahoma in Hawaii and at Virginia, Providence and Xavier. Villanova has home wins over Nebraska, Akron, LaSalle, Delaware, Penn, Xavier, Seton Hall, Marquette, Creighton, St. John’s, Butler, DePaul and Georgetown. The Wildcats have neutral site wins over Stanford and Georgia Tech in the NIT Season Tip-off in Brooklyn, along with road wins at St. Joseph’s, Creighton, Butler, Georgetown, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence, DePaul, Temple and Marquette. Villanova is 18-17-1 ATS and the total is 19-16-1 this season. The Wildcats were 4 point favorites against Miami and the total was 140.
Kansas is coached by Bill Self. Kansas is making their 22nd trip to the Elite Eight with 14 Final Four appearances. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular season title for a 12th straight season. Kansas won the Big 12 tournament by beating Kansas State in the quarterfinals, Baylor in the semifinals and West Virginia in the championship game.
Kansas beat #16 seed Austin Peay 105-79 in the first round and #9 seed Connecticut 73-61 Saturday in the second round both in Des Moines. Kansas pulled away in the second half of the regional semifinal against #5 Maryland Thursday night in a 79-63 win.
The Jayhawks lost to Michigan State in Chicago early in the season, and has road losses at West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Kansas has wins over UCLA and Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational, home wins over Harvard, Oregon State, Montana, Baylor, Oklahoma in triple overtime, TCU, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Iowa State, plus road wins over San Diego State, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas. Kansas is 23-11 ATS and the total is 12-21-1 this season. The Jayhawks were 5.5 point favorites against Maryland and the total was 143.
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Villanova is outscoring teams 78-64 this season. The Wildcats are #15 nationally in points allowed. Villanova is shooting 47.4% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. Villanova is #32 in field goal percentage. The Wildcats are shooting 77.5% from the free throw line. Villanova is #3 nationally in free throw shooting. Opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. Villanova is #32 in field goal defense. Villanova averages 35.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.5 per game. The Wildcats average 16.5 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 3.5 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.9 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 5.8 steals and 2.2 blocks per game.
Josh Hart averages 15.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Kris Jenkins averages 13.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. Ryan Arcidiacono averages 12 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Jalen Brunson averages 10 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Daniel Ochefu averages 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.6 blocks per game. Mikal Bridges, Phil Booth, and Darryl Reynolds will also get time in the rotation. Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney are both out indefinitely.
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Kansas is out scoring teams 82-68 this season. The Jayhawks are #15 in scoring nationally. Kansas is shooting 49.6% from the field and 42.3% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #5 in field goal percentage and #3 in three point shooting nationally. Kansas makes 71% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.7% from the field and 32.8% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #21 in field goal defense nationally. Kansas averages 38 rebounds a game and opponents average 30 per game. The Jayhawks average 16.1 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 6.8 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 11 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.4 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.
Forward Perry Ellis averages 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr. averages 13.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1 steal a game. Frank Mason III averages 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Devonte’ Graham averages 11.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Brannen Greene averages 5.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Six other players get significant time in the rotation.
Villanova is 9-2 after scoring more than 90 points, 4-1 in NCAA Tournament games, 35-16 in non-conference games, 38-18-1 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Saturday games and against Big 12 teams.
Kansas is 4-0 ATS in neutral site games, and against teams with winning records, 14-3 overall, 4-1 in NCAA Tournament games, 16-5 after a cover, 6-2 in Saturday games, 19-7 after a straight up win and in non-conference games.
While Kansas is the hottest team in the country with a 17 game winning streak, perhaps no team is playing better in the tournament than Villanova. The Wildcats have won all three of their tournament games by an average of 24 points. While Villanova scores 78 points a game, I don’t know if they want to get into a track meet with Kansas. I think Villanova certainly has the talent to pull off the upset, but I like Kansas to win a close game.