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NCAA Basketball News And Notes for March 28

After two captivating weekends of basketball, the Final Four is set in the NCAA tournament. With all eyes on which of these teams can prevail to be crowned National Championship, let’s take a look at the bracket and other news from around college basketball.

And Then There Were Four

While the talk of the tournament has been about upsets and Cinderella teams like Saint Peter’s, the Final Four consists of teams that have walked the walk before.

The four remaining teams of Villanova, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina have made it to the Final Four a combined 61 times. Even crazier, they have a combined 17 national titles between them.
Here is a rundown of the matchups for next Saturday’s Final Four round.

Game 1: No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 1 Kansas

Jay Wright and Villanova were able to make the Final Four by beating No. 5 Houston 50-44 in their last matchup. In what was a defensive battle, Jermaine Samuels had a game-high 16 points and ten rebounds in the victory.

Wright is looking for his third national championship, and this is the seventh time that Villanova has made an appearance in the Final Four in their program’s history.

Interestingly, in both 2016 and 2018, Villanova took down Kansas in the Final Four on their way to a title.

Kansas already has made history in this tournament as they became the winningest program in D1 basketball, passing Kentucky. This is Kansas’ 16th time in the Final Four, and Bill Self is looking for his second national title.

To get here, Kansas took down No. 10 Miami, 76-50. Kansas was actually losing by six at halftime before outscoring the Hurricanes 47-15 in the second half. Ochai Agbaji tied a game-high with 18 points in the win.

Kansas currently has the second-best odds of winning the NCAA championship at +180, while Villanova is +450.

Game 2 No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Duke

There may be no more fitting way for Mike Krzyzewski to end his career than to have to face North Carolina one more time. Shockingly, despite the two programs having played 256 times in their history, they have never played in the NCAA tournament.

For the Tar Heels, first-year head coach Hubert Davis is trying to pick up his first national championship and the program’s seventh title. This is their 21st time making a Final Four, most of any college basketball program.

In the Elite Eight, North Carolina closed the book on Saint Peter’s Cinderella story with a 69-49 win. Armando Bacot led all scorers as he had a double-double with 20 points and 22 rebounds.

For Duke, they have won the national championship five times in their history (all with Krzyzewski as coach), and this will be their 17th trip to the Final Four. For Krzyzewski, it is his 13th trip to the Final Four.

For Duke to get here, they took down the No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks 78-69 on Saturday. AJ Griffin had a team-high 18 points in the victory and was one of four Blue Devils to score in double digits.

The Blue Devils are the favorites to win it all at +160, while the Tar Heels are +500.

Justin Moore’s Tournament Comes To A Sad End

While Villanova is moving on to face Kansas in the Final Four, All-Big East guard Justin Moore will, unfortunately, have to support his team from the sidelines.

In the final minute of their Elite Eight victory over the Cougars, Moore suffered a torn Achilles tendon driving to the basket, and he will undergo surgery this week.

This season, Moore has averaged 14.8 points on 39.7 percent shooting. He is also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and a steal per game.

Jay Wright doesn’t go to his bench a lot, given that only six players on the Wildcats average more than 10 minutes per game (Moore averaged 34.6 minutes).

Against a Kansas team that has been rolling as of late, this puts Villanova as 4.5-point underdogs to win this one.

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