The biggest weekend in college basketball tips off in New Orleans on Saturday as Final Four will feature Villanova vs. Kansas in the first matchup and North Carolina against ACC rival Duke in the second game. Here’s a preview of Saturday’s matchups:
Wildcats and Jayhawks Renew Tournament Rivalry
Villanova will face Kansas in the first game of this year’s Final Four. They have met on three previous occasions in the tournament, with the winning team becoming tournament champions. The Wildcats have won three NCAA Tournaments, with their last championship coming in 2018. The Jayhawks have also won three previous titles, the last being in 2008.
This is Villanova’s third Final Four since 2016, and they’ll enter Saturday’s matchup after winning the South Region as the number two seed. They have tournament wins over Delaware, Ohio State, Michigan, and Houston. After leading his team with 16 points and ten rebounds in their last win, Jermaine Samuels was named the South Regional Most Outstanding Player. Caleb Daniels added 12 points and six rebounds for the Wildcats.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they will be without Justin Moore, who was injured with under a minute to play against Houston. The team’s second-leading scorer injured his Achilles and is finished for the season. Daniels will move into the starting lineup against Kansas.
Kansas were winners of the Midwest Region with their 76-50 win over Miami. They also have victories over Texas Southern, Creighton, and Providence to reach the semifinals. Wooden Award finalist Ochai Agbaji led the Jayhawks with 18 points in their last win to help propel the Jayhawks to their 16th Final Four appearance.
Kansas will get a close victory as Moore’s loss will be costly for the Wildcats.
Duke and North Carolina Clash for First Time in Tournament
The biggest rivalry in college basketball continues on Saturday as Duke and North Carolina will play each other for the first time in the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels have won the most championships of all the teams in the Final Four with six. They are also making their NCAA-record 21st appearance in the semifinal round. Duke is looking to tie North Carolina and also earn their sixth national championship.
The Blue Devils were winners of the West Region and had tournament wins over CSU Fullerton, Michigan State, Texas Tech, and Arkansas to make it to this point. AJ Griffin led Duke in their last victory with 18 points as they shot 54.7% from the field against the Razorbacks. Paolo Banchero scored 16 and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.
North Carolina eliminated 15th seed Saint Peters in the Elite Eight 69-49 after getting wins over Marquette, Baylor and UCLA in the earlier rounds. Armando Bacot led all scorers in their last victory with 20 points and pulled down 22 rebounds in the blowout win. He leads the team with 16.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game this season. Caleb Love adds 15.7 points per game and leads the Tar Heels in assists with 3.7 per matchup.
One of the big storylines in this game is the coaching matchup as the greatest college coach of all time, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, coaches the final games of his career. He is 50-47 against the Tar Heels. North Carolina is led by their former star Hubert Davis, who is in his first season as head coach after taking over for Roy Williams.
Duke will get a close win and have a chance to challenge for another national title.