All Hail Kansas: Midwest Champs Living Up to No. 1 Billing

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 4:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2018 4:11 PM UTC

The Jayhawks entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and emerged as the Midwest Region champions. Will they be the last team standing at the Big Dance?

Final Four: Kansas Jayhawks

Records: 31-7 SU, 21-16 ATS

Odds to Win National Championship: +440

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

The college basketball odd board reflected Kansas as one of the top dogs in the Midwest Region by virtue of its No. 1 seed and the fact they had just blitzed their Big 12 competition en route to the conference championship. Kansas was ranked ninth in the nation before the conference tournaments and wound up No. 4 after those tournaments ended. Since the postseason began, the Jayhawks are 7-0 straight up and have cashed in five of those seven victories for all those who have backed them in their college basketball picks.

How They Got Here

Kansas’ road to the Final Four began with a 76-60 win and cover over a game No. 16 seed and Ivy league champion Penn. In the second round, the Jayhawks squared off against Big East bruiser Seton Hall and beat the No. 8 seed 83-79 but narrowly failed to cover the number as 4½-point favorites.

The Sweet 16 brought No. 5 Clemson in their sights and Kansas staved off a furious second-half rally by the Tigers that resulted in an 80-76 win but again disappointed their backers as five-point neutral-site chalk.

Kansas had its sternest test of the tournament in the Elite Eight when the Duke Blue Devils, the No. 2 seed, were 3½-point favorites over the top-seeded Jayhawks. Once again, Kansas proved its worth with an inspired 85-81 overtime win.

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THIS is what it’s all about. #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/x3MatBYIEQ

— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) March 25, 2018
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No. 1 vs. No. 1

Although this tournament has borne madness and mischief with the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed when Virginia lost by 20 points to unheralded UMBC, the Midwest and East regions have gone according to plan.

The two top seeds are exactly where everyone believed they would be as the No. 1 seed in the East, Villanova, takes on the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, Kansas.

The all-time series between Kansas and Villanova is even at three wins apiece, with the last meeting held in 2016 when they met in the Elite Eight. Villanova defeated Kansas 64-59 and ultimately won the national championship that year.

Jayhawks Must Overcome Odds

Kansas is a five-point underdog to Villanova in Saturday night's second semifinal. However, it was the Jayhawks who handled a common opponent with more efficiency. Kansas beat Seton Hall 83-79 earlier in the NCAA Tournament; Nova survived Seton Hall 69-68 in overtime on February 28.

Kansas has won three national titles (1952, 1988, 2008). On Saturday night, the Jayhawks will prepare to advance to the title game against the winner of the first semifinal between Loyola-Chicago and Michigan.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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