NCAA Tournament Picks: Bet No. 1 Seed Kansas Against Villanova

Doug Upstone

Saturday, March 26, 2016 11:49 AM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 26, 2016 11:49 AM UTC

No other region in this NCAA Tournament will have a game worthy of being a championship final like the South. These were two of the five best teams when the tourney started and offer interesting betting odds.

Doug's Record: 8-6-1 ATS sides and 9-6 totals

Villanova played a virtually perfect offensive game against Miami. The Wildcats shot 62.7 percent from the field, made 10 of 15 three points and somehow missed one of their 19 free throw attempts. As Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said "They're such an incredible offensive team we had no way of stopping them." He was not kidding either as Nova averaged 1.58 points per possession, which was its best offensive efficiency in any game since 2010-11 season.

Kansas was not that good, but over the last 22:44 against Maryland, they were every bit as domineering as Villanova. After the Terps Jay Layman made basket to give Maryland 32-29 lead, the Jayhawks took control in every facet and closed the contest on a 50-31 run.

This is the 8:49 EDT contest on CBS and the NCAA basketball odds have Kansas as 2.5-point favorite with total of 145.


The Betting Numbers

SU and ATS Records - 33-4, 23-11 ATS
Neutral Site Record - 9-1 and 8-2 ATS
Favorite Record - 29-3 and 22-10 ATS
Off a SU Win - 28-4 SU and 21-9 ATS

SU and ATS Records - 32-5, 18-17-1 ATS
Neutral Site Record - 7-2 and 5-4 ATS
Underdog Record - 0-1 and 0-1 ATS
Off a SU Win - 26-5 SU and 14-16-1 ATS


The Game Scoop
Though Villanova's offensive performance was incredible, it was not that much out of character for them in this NCAA Tournament. Coach Jay Wright's club has been almost flawless in three games, averaging 88.3 PPG on jaw-dropping 59.8 percent shooting.

Right now, the Wildcats remind me of how the Toronto Raptors were playing from Feb. 21 to Mar.20. Toronto won 15 of 18 in that stretch and they were distinctive in winning, coming ready to play from the opening tip, applying immediate pressure from the start and building early leads to place the opposing team on the defensive.

Villanova has taken the will from each opponent and though Miami came back to make a game for a half, they had nothing left when Wildcats started making a volume of shots and even when they missed, they got to every loose ball and ended up converting frequently from every angle of the floor.

It is not likely Kansas will give in, unless Nova shoots 70 percent. (kidding, sort of) Bill Self's Jayhawks have won 17 straight and are drilling the opposition with a 14-3 ATS record. Kansas success is coming from its defense. Villanova has great defensive numbers in holding their opponents to 40.4% on the season, but Kansas has stifling, with last 16 foes making less than 38 percent.

Kansas can match Nova when it comes to shooting, averaging just one less three-pointer per game on six fewer attempts and have a great security blanket in Perry Ellis, who can stabilize the offense until it finds a rhythm (like Maryland game), which opens it up for shooters from 15 feet or further out.

Sagarin Spread - Kansas -1.11


Spread Winner and Totals Lean
In my original brackets, I had Kansas cutting down the nets, but I will honest, this game mawks will finally cool them off or takes me more nervous than I thought it would. My sense with Villanova is they are either scalding hot and a defense like the Jayhhis is team of destiny who wins it all by being in the zone they are in.

What I am saying is my belief is the winner of this contest will be national champions. I am going to side where I started and for the same reasons. The Kansas defense has taken almost every team out of what it prefers to do. I have always looked to play against any basketball team that is coming off 60 percent or higher shooting, in which the 'Cats qualify.

I thought Kansas was sluggish to start against Maryland, but do not see that happening here and really like what forward Landen Lucas has added on defense and rebounding, to give Kansas edge on the glass. This should be a classic, but in the end for NCAA basketball picks, the Jayhawks build on short lead with free throws late to win by five, with the total going OVER.

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Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Kansas -2.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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