After an exciting, upset-filled start to the NCAA Tournament, the Final Four continues with a two-game slate, featuring the true-blue blood programs. Let’s break down the top college basketball picks and NCAAB picks today for Saturday, April 2.
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NCAAB Picks Today: Final Four College Basketball Predictions
Best NCAAB Picks: Kansas -4.5
After knocking off Creighton, Providence and Miami, Kansas has faced a surprisingly weak level of competition in the tournaments. Fortunately for the Jayhawks, that stretch continues against a Villanova team that just lost one of their top two players in Justin Moore. Villanova has certainly faced superior competition this tournament, beating Ohio State, Michigan and Houston. However, Moore’s loss creates multiple problems.
Diving into Villanova, this team shoots the 34th most 3’s in the country and they rank 63rd in 3-point percentage. Also playing at one of the slowest paces, Villanova’s guard play constitutes most of their offense. Moore ranks second on the team in 3-point attempts and shoots them at a 36% clip. Averaging 34.6 minutes per game this season, Moore’s loss cannot be overstated. Stylistically, Kansas also defends the perimeter well. The Jayhawks rank 17th in 3-point defense and now can focus their attention on 41% 3-point shooter Collin Gillespie.
Unlike Villanova, Kansas continues to get healthier. Point guard Remi Martin has played 24, 27 and 29 minutes in Kansas’ last three games. With blowouts limiting his minutes of late, Martin has the chance to log 30+. He will also likely draw Gillespie on defense, who grades out as a significantly worse defender than Moore. On top of the injuries, Kansas has a significant height advantage with David McCormack, Jalen Wilson and Mitch Lightfoot in the frontcourt. Kansas ranks 35th in rebounding, while Villanova checks in at 164th. With three bodies to rotate in the paint, Kansas holds drastic advantages across the board here.
While the line has ballooned to -4.5, Kansas remains on the sharp side of this Final Four game between blue blood teams.
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Best NCAAB Picks: Duke vs. North Carolina – Over 151.5
One of the best rivalries in college basketball, Duke and North Carolina meet here for the third time this season. Shockingly, these two teams have never met in the NCAA Tournament. Adding an even deeper wrinkle, Coach K will be stepping down this year, making this game even more important. As for this year, Duke took down North Carolina in their first meeting 87-67, while North Carolina bested the Blue Devils 94-81 in the rematch. Duke is a 4-point favorite over the Tar Heels, but the 151.5-point total looks like the more intriguing play in the betting markets.
Both regular-season games played above the listed 151.1-point total, and a few metrics point towards the same here. First of all, both teams possess elite offenses. Duke ranks fifth in offensive efficiency, while North Carolina checks in at 29th. Likewise, both teams can struggle on defense. Again, Duke ranks 94th in defensive efficiency, while North Carolina ranks 133rd. Looking at the matchups, Duke also enters this game 29th in 3-point percentage, which directly exploits North Carolina’s 206th ranked perimeter defense. Likewise, North Carolina ranks 52nd in 3-point percentage. Duke made a defensive change around the start of the tournament, opting to play more zone on defense. Now allowing teams to shoot more 3’s does not bode well for the Blue Devils defensively.
As for pace, this game projects to be up-tempo based on North Carolina’s 72.5 possessions per game. Duke plays to a 69.8 possessions per game pace but found themselves in a firefight in their last game. The pace played to 76.6 possessions as North Carolina played to their pace. Duke has only played one game above the 70-possession threshold since then, but they have also battled some slower teams. With pace and efficiency both working towards the over, 151.5 remains a reasonable number to take here.
More College Basketball Picks
For more action on today’s college basketball slate, take a look at the Awesemo CBB DFS page. All of Matt’s CBB picks for daily fantasy college basketball are there, as are CBB DFS Cheat Sheets for DraftKings and FanDuel.
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