By Charles Jay
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The Kansas Jayhawks are the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and so they are supposed to be where they are. On Saturday they will lace up their shoes and take on a team that had briefly dislodged them from the #1 spot in the major polls when they encounter the Villanova Wildcats in the finals of the East Regional and a trip to the Final Four. Game time for this matchup is 8:45 PM ET at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville. And BetAnySports customers will have an opportunity to place wagers on this game even after it has started, when they partake in what Live Betting Extra has to offer.
BetAnySports March Madness Betting Line:
Here are the betting odds on this game, as they are currently posted at BetAnySports:
Kansas Jayhawks -2.5
Villanova Wildcats +2.5
Over 145 points -110
Under 145 points -110
Kansas (33-4 SU, 23-11 ATS) was very impressive in taking control of things against Maryland on Thursday night, pulling away for a 79-63 victory. They shot a robust 46.8% from the field and held the Terps to just 40% shooting. They have now won 187 consecutive games, covering 14 of them, so it is not unfair to say that they are the hottest team in the country, not just overall but as it concerns the pocketbooks of those who have backed them. Bill Self has had a lot of great teams in Lawrence, but has just one national title to show for it, so this would be big, as this may be his best opportunity yet.
What he has on hand is not a bunch of future NBA superstars, but rather a number of experienced veterans, and they have been extremely consistent and reliable for hi. In fact, he refers to guard Wayne Simien as the most consistent player he has had since his arrival at Kansas. That is a very heavy statement.
One of the people Kansas is going to have to rely heavily on is Perry Ellis, a power forward who makes it difficult to set up a defensive scheme for because of his ability to either work on the inside or move outside. He is the team’s leading scorer (17.2 ppg) and he is second in rebounds but he is also a very accurate shooter from three-point range (43.8%), and this is a challenge for a Villanova team that is , well, challenged with regard to size. Who will guard Ellis, especially since he is getting help up front. Landen Lucas has been a workhorse underneath, and his team-leading 6.6 rebounds per contest would attest to that.
BetAnySports patrons, in looking at the kind of numbers these Jayhawks have out up, may notice that there is not a genuine shot-blocking threat, and certainly no one in the league of Joel Imbiid, who was a mountain in the middle and now has an NBA career (albeit an injury-plagued one) with the Philadelphia 76ers. But Villanova throws a four-guard offense out there much of the time, so it isn’t as if they are going to be pounding the ball inside with any level of consistency. But we would say that at this point, Kansas had better be wary of Villanova’s outside shooting, because they have been on fire after hitting less than 35% during the regular season. The Jayhawks, who have no less than five members of the rotation hitting 40% or better from three-point land, have allowed only 32% shooting from the arc, so that provides for an interesting matchup right there.
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