Villanova vs. Kansas NCAA Tournament Final Four Picks

Collin Gillespie #2 of the Villanova Wildcats. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

Overshadowed by the other Final Four contest, the Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks tip off the action on Saturday’s NCAA basketball betting card. 

Villanova Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks     

Saturday, April 02, 2022 – 06:09 PM EDT at Caesars Superdome 

Though you might not be able to tell it with all the hype surrounding the game between North Carolina and Duke, there is another Final Four matchup on Saturday that pits a couple of teams eager to remind everyone good basketball is played outside the ACC. That would be the Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks, for those scoring at home. 

With the season down to just a quartet of teams, Duke is naturally drawing the title of favorite on the NCAA basketball futures at +160 to cut down the nets come Monday. Kansas slots in next at +180 while Villanova, winners in 2016 and 2018, is +450 with North Carolina bringing up the rear at +500.  

Second Final Four Clash for KU and Nova 

FanDuel, where those futures prices are from, is selling the Jayhawks as 4½-point favorites for the early contest Saturday in New Orleans. Kansas slightly leans to the ‘over’ up to this point while Villanova has a small lean-to the ‘under,’ and the scoreboard target is set at 133. 

There isn’t a whole lot of history in this Big East-Big 12 battle, with Saturday’s skirmish the 10th meeting between the Jayhawks and Wildcats, but we do have some recent action to consider as well as some March Madness matchups. The two programs played a home-and-home series back in 2018 and 2019, with each side winning on their own courts and Villanova covering the college basketball odds in both clashes. 

When they take the Superdome floor on Saturday, it will be just a few days more than four years since Kansas and Villanova squared off in the Final Four at the 2018 Men’s Basketball Tournament in San Antonio. The Wildcats used a big first half and outscored the Jayhawks 54-21 from 3-point range to coast to a 95-79 victory. 

They also met in the Elite Eight of the 2016 tournament, a 64-59 Villanova win on the strength of free-throw shooting, and in the Sweet 16 of the 2008 tournament that saw Kansas score a 72-57 decision on its way to the National Championship. Villanova leads the all-time series 5-4. 

‘Cats Cover All 4 NCAA Tourney Games 

The defense has been the calling card for Jay Wright’s outfit during the tournament, with Villanova allowing the fewest points (220) among the Final Four teams. The Wildcats pulled away in the final minutes of the first half to beat No. 15 seed, Delaware, by 20 in the opening round, and led for all but the first two minutes of a 71-61 win over No. 7 Ohio State in the second round. 

Villanova then closed the first half strong again in a 63-55 decision against No. 11 Michigan and then led wire-to-wire in a 50-44 defensive struggle against No. 5 Houston to win the South Region this past Saturday. The Wildcats covered the numbers at online betting sites in all four contests, with the last three coming in ‘under’ the totals. 

There was some bad news to come out of the win over Houston. Justin Moore, who led Villanova with 21 points in the opening round win over Delaware, suffered a torn Achilles in the final minute of Saturday’s game and will be out of action against Kansas. 

Jayhawks Only No. 1 to Reach Big Easy 

If Bill Self’s team plays as it did in the second half of the Midwest Region Finals against No. 10 seed Miami, we’ll be seeing the Jayhawks on Monday. Trailing by 6 at the half, Kansas roared to life in the final 20 minutes to put a 76-50 beatdown on the Hurricanes and easily cover the 5½-point spread. 

After romping past No. 16 Texas Southern 83-56 in the opening round, the Jayhawks needed to put things together late in the wins over No. 9 Creighton and No. 4 Providence in order to reach the Elite Eight. Kansas suffered through some poor shooting efforts in the wins over the Bluejays and Friars before connecting on 50% (29-58) from the field against Miami, 

One player prop that looks tasty is picking a player to score at least 20 points from any of the teams in the national semifinals. Villanova’s Collin Gillespie is +260 and a solid bet to pump in 20+, especially with Moore sidelined. 

While Gillespie is a good bet to net 20+, that doesn’t mean the Wildcats are the best college basketball pick in this contest. Play the Jayhawks to rock that chalk and make it to Monday’s NCAA Championship. 

NCAAB Pick: Kansas -4½ (-108) with BetRivers