By: Brandon Silva
The Final 4 teams have been set and to say there is any shock with the teams still playing would be a lie. UNC is an 8-seed but they have been red hot since before the ACC tournament with their biggest win coming against Duke back in February. This will be a battle of the blue bloods as the final four teams consist of the UNC Tarheels, Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks, and the Villanova Wildcats. These are all teams that are expected to go deep every year and they have all achieved that goal. Now only one of these teams can be champions and complete their title conquest.
The first game of the weekend will be Kansas vs. Villanova. For this game, I’m all over the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas had a shaky start in their elite 8 game against Miami and still were able to come on top with a score of 76-50. It was a rout once Kansas came out of the halftime locker room. This Kansas team is built to rebound and defend the 3. This is the deepest team in the country as well. Villanova is the definition of basketball purism and perfection. They don't make mistakes and they do the fundamentals perfectly. Unfortunately for them, they will be without Justin Moore who tore his Achilles in their game against Houston. Kansas struggled from the free-throw line mightily in their last game and that’s what held them back. I don’t foresee this being an ongoing issue with this team. The combination of Ochai Agbaji, Remy Martin, Christain Braun, David McCormack, Jalen Wilson, and Dajuan Harris will be too much for the Wildcats to take on. Kansas is -4 in this game and that’s a bet I would feel very comfortable making.
Now for the most exciting game of the entire season. Duke vs UNC. Something that we’ve seen already twice this season with each team going into the opponent's building and walking away victorious. This will be the hardest-fought game of the season. Will this be the last game of Coach K’s career or will he get his storybook ending and advance to the national championship? I see this being a gritty back and forth game between the rivals. Brady Manek might go for 30 points for the Tarheels. Armando Bacot could easily have another double-double. Leaky Black will be a matchup nightmare for whoever he’s guarding on the Blue Devils as he usually is. Unfortunately for them, it won’t be enough. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games. That’s exactly what I expect out of Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, and A.J. Griffin. All elite NBA prospects fighting to play another game. These guys plus Jeremy Roach, Wendell Moore, and Trevor Keels are going to turn up in New Orleans. They have more on the line especially with Coach K’s retirement being right around the corner. Duke will outrun and outwork the Tarheels and will be able to excel in transition as well as hitting their 3s. Duke is -4 in this game as well and that’s a bet I may avoid taking. Stay safe and take the Blue Devils on the Moneyline.