The 2022 NCAA tournament has been a roller coaster since the very beginning. It’s been arguably the most unpredictable race to the finish line that we have ever seen – including a No. 15 seed making it all the way into the Elite Eight.
Now, we enter the Final Four with two matchups that are bound to be close until the end. Let’s take a closer look at the two contests along with the betting odds.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Villanova Wildcats
The Villanova Wildcats suffered a massive loss when Justin Moore went down with a torn Achilles in the team’s win over the Houston Cougars. This entire Villanova offense was flowing through Moore as he was second on the team in scoring average and first on the team in field-goal attempts. Players like Bryan Antoine and Chris Arcidiacono are going to be leaned on more often to cover up the void that Moore leaves behind. Unfortunately, his absence leaves the Wildcats in a very difficult situation.
The Jayhawks, on the other hand, have been utterly dominant in the paint. In their game against Texas Southern, they were plus-10 on the glass. They followed that game up with a plus-18 margin against Creighton. Then, they had four more rebounds than Providence to go along with 11 blocks. Finally, their most recent win over Miami saw them finish plus-16 in rebounds. Couple this complete dominance down low with the scoring that both Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun provide and this is a dangerous team.
Villanova would have presented a much different opponent if Moore was healthy, but his injury makes them a big question mark heading into this game. It would be wise to roll with the Jayhawks in this one.
Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels will be facing off in the NCAA tournament for the first time in history. Given their massive history as rivals, that’s hard to believe. And we also don’t often get to see a Final Four matchup where the teams have played two prior games during the regular season.
Duke absolutely destroyed North Carolina in the opening matchup this year, they were plus-20 in points from two-point field goals and plus-16 in rebounding. North Carolina got their revenge in the second matchup by ending the contest on a 38-20 run.
These teams are incredibly familiar with one another and that could play a large factor in this game. Also, each of these teams have had a strong win against the other. A stat that has stood out so far for Duke is that they have scored at least 78 points in every single tournament game to this point. Their offense is on fire and it’s hard to imagine that they will just cool off here. The Tar Heels have been equally as hot but may lack the star power that the Blue Devils own. Paolo Banchero in particular will be crucial to a Duke win.
Given that it is the final run for the legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke isn’t going to want to lose this game to their bitter rivals.