If you love the traditional powers of college basketball, this is your dream Final Four.
The first coach at Kansas was the inventor of basketball, James Naismith. North Carolina plays its games in the Dean Smith Center, who played at Kansas before becoming a Hall of Fame coach in Chapel Hill.
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in college basketball history. And at Villanova, two-time National Champion Jay Wright is also a Hall of Fame head coach.
It’s the battle of the blue bloods on the bayou.
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 1 Kansas (-4.5)
If there is a cloud hanging over the Final Four this weekend, it’s the injury suffered by Villanova guard Justin Moore. He tore his Achilles in an Elite Eight win over Houston, and he is out. It’s a big loss for a team that primarily uses a six-man rotation.
In steps, senior Caleb Daniels, who will likely start in Moore’s place. Daniels had 12 points against Houston in the last round, and he has come up huge for the Wildcats in big games this season. He scored 20 in a two-point win over Providence to begin March and added 19 in a one-point win over St. John’s in the Big East Tournament.
Kansas has its own sixth man leading the way in Remy Martin, who was just named Midwest Region Most Outstanding Player. He scored 20 against Creighton and 23 against Providence, and he, along with Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun, give Kansas the most talented trio of guards in the country.
However, as good as Kansas is, they are average against the spread. The Jayhawks are 19-19 overall ATS and just 2-2 in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova is 20-15-2 ATS on the season and a perfect 4-0 in the tournament.
No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Duke (-4)
Duke and North Carolina have been battling on the court for over a century, but for the first time in the rivalry’s 257-game history, they are meeting in the NCAA Tournament.
That by itself would make this a game for the ages. But for this Final Four matchup, we get the added storyline of Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in the history of college basketball and in the history of the NCAA Tournament, coaching in his last of 13 career Final Fours.
As for the young men who are chasing their NCAA championship dreams, North Carolina is led by the trio of Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, and Brady Manek. For Duke, its future NBA first-round picks Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, and AJ Griffin.
Against the spread, North Carolina is 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament and has covered in eight of its last nine. Duke has covered in three straight but failed to cover in the five games before that.
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