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March Madness Final Four Preview - Villanova Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks
The first teams to take the floor in the 2022 Final Four will be the Kansas Jayhawks and Villanova Wildcats, who will meet in a battle of top-two seeds at Caesars Superdome on Saturday.
Kansas has made it to New Orleans as the only one-seed remaining in the tournament, while Villanova is one of two two-seeds to get to this stage.
Both teams will look to get the job done in this matchup, with Kansas entering as a 4.5-point favorite with a spot in the national championship game hanging in the balance.
Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats have made it to the Final Four on the strength of their defense, holding their opponents in check throughout this NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats held Houston under 50 points in their last game, securing the South Region title in the process. But injury concerns could be too much to overcome for Villanova as they look to claim a third title under Wright.
Justin Moore suffered a torn Achilles in the final minutes of Villanova’s Elite Eight win over Houston, which will have a huge impact on their rotation against Kansas. Villanova has run with a short rotation throughout this season and this tournament, playing just seven players against Houston in the last round. With Moore out, Villanova will either have to dig deeper into their bench or run with an even smaller group of players here, forcing them out of their comfort zone.
There is only one one-seed in this year’s Final Four, and it is the Kansas Jayhawks. Bill Self’s team won the Midwest Region, avoiding upsets against Providence and Miami in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight to punch their ticket to New Orleans. While Villanova is worried about its depth after the injury to Justin Moore, the Jayhawks come in looking like they might be the deepest team left in the tournament.
In addition to Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack in their starting lineup, the Jayhawks have a legitimate X-factor off the bench in Remy Martin. The Arizona State transfer has scored at least nine straight points in six straight games, scoring in double figures in five of those contests. He has also shot at least 40% in all six of those games, and his efficiency off the bench could be what propels Kansas to a win here and a potential national title.
Keys to the Game
The biggest key to this game for Villanova is going to be their three-point shooting. With a depleted lineup, the Wildcats are going to need to find a way to avoid fatigue so that their perimeter shots fall without sacrificing quality on the floor. If the Wildcats can do that, they will have a chance to spring an upset against the highest remaining seed in this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.
On the Kansas side, the top key to this game is going to be defensive rebounding. Villanova loves to do its damage from three-point range, which makes securing long rebounds a priority for the Jayhawks. Kansas would also be best served to get out in transition to try and tire out the weakened Villanova lineup with Moore out.
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