North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brady Manek (45) celebrates as forward Armando Bacot (5) dunks during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels won 94-81. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports.
North Carolina Tar Heels forward Brady Manek (45) celebrates as forward Armando Bacot (5) dunks during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels won 94-81. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Joe Fann’s best bets for the 2022 Final Four

The final four has arrived, and after a snoozefest of an Elite Eight, we have two storyline-filled matchups that should deliver the drama we missed out on last weekend. 

 Here are my favorite bets on Saturday, one from each game. 

 (1) Kansas -4 vs. (2) Villanova (o/u 133) 

 

The play: Kansas -4 

I’m not going to overthink this one. Losing Justin Moore is brutal for Villanova, and I’m not sure how a team with an already-short rotation replaces his 15-5-2. Collin Gillespie isn’t a volume scorer, and while he’s as clutch as they come, he hasn’t been shooting the ball well in this tournament.  

He has shot under 40% from the field in three-of-four game thus far and scored just six points against Houston. His usage will surely increase on Saturday in Moore’s absence, but I’m not sure he alone will be able to offset the massive injury.  

Here are a few other factors to consider in favor of Kansas:  

  • Villanova will obviously want this game to move at a snail’s pace, but Kansas will take every opportunity to run as they rank 40th in the country in tempo.  

  • Kansas ranks 37th in offensive rebounding while Nova’s defense ranks 208th in defensive rebounding. I’m counting on the Jayhawks to steal a few extra possessions. 

  • Kansas doesn’t rely on three-point shooting as they rank 287th in percentage of shot attempts being threes. Having a higher quality of shot selection should help from scoring droughts and potential frustration against Villanova’s attempt to slow the game down.  

  • Villanova’s offense is highly efficient across the board, but it struggles with getting shots blocked. Nova ranks 318th in that category while Kansas’ defense ranks 76th in blocks.  

(2) Duke -4 vs. (8) North Carolina (o/u 151) 

 

The play: Over 151 

These two teams have gone over this total in each of their first two meetings this season (175 and 154). I understand the case for liking the under here due to teams potentially coming out tight given the magnitude of the Final Four and the altered sight lines of playing in an NFL stadium. Coach K facing North Carolina for the first time ever in the NCAA Tournament only adds to that narrative.  

But there was plenty of that at the end of the season for Coach K’s final game at Cameron Indoor, and the total still went over.  

 Here are the factors that push me toward this play: 

  • Duke ranks No. 1 in overall offensive efficiency and North Carolina ranks 18th. 

  • The Tar Heels also rank 95th in tempo. 

  • Both offenses rank in the top 100 in offensive rebounding while Duke’s defense ranks 215th in defensive rebounding.  

  • While both offenses rank 51st or better in three-point shooting, neither team relies heavily on the three ball. 

  • Each team also excels at the free throw line and ranks in the top-100 in terms of percentage.