The final game of the college basketball season has arrived with North Carolina and Kansas set to square off in the National Championship Game.
North Carolina is coming off of an upset as a 4-point underdog against Duke on Saturday. Caleb Love put up 28 points including a dagger three-pointer in the game’s final minute to send Coach K off into retirement. R.J. Davis chipped in 18 points with seven boards and seven rebounds. The Tar Heels will be four-point dogs against Kansas on Monday.
Kansas dismantled Villanova in the Final Four, 81-65, behind a lights-out shooting performance. The Jayhawks went 13-of-24 from beyond the arc with Ochai Agbaji knocking down six-of-seven.
Here are my two favorite bets for the game. I cashed both my Final Four picks (Kansas -4 and Duke/UNC o151), so let’s try to stay hot.
If UNC vs. Duke was 151, I’m certainly taking this at 152.
KenPom projects this total to be 154
Both teams rank in the top-100 in tempo: Kansas 44th, North Carolina 96th. Comparatively, Duke ranked 179th.
Neither team relies heavily on three-point shooting: Kansas 285th in three-point attempts, North Carolina 162nd.
Both teams excel at shooting threes: Kansas 52nd in three-point percentage, North Carolina 50th.
Both teams rank in the top-100 in offensive rebounding: Kansas 36th, North Carolina 74th
KenPom projects a six-point Kansas win, 80-74.
I’m concerned about Armando Bacot’s ankle. I know he’ll play, but will he be limited in any fashion? Will it get worse as the game goes along? How will it impact his ability to run the floor with Kansas?
Beyond Bacot’s injury, North Carolina plays a short rotation as is, and I question their ability to keep up with Kansas for 40 minutes.
You can’t qualify this, and I understand if you think this is a nothing burger, but I question North Carolina’s ability to replicate Saturday’s performance in what was such a seismic and emotional game against Duke. Kansas played a relatively stress-free game against Villanova.
Kansas has small edges in most efficiency numbers, but the Jayhawks have a relatively large edge when it comes to blocked shots. Kansas’ defense ranks 73rd in blocks while Carolina’s offense ranks 217th.