By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Entering the weekend, Villanova appears to the best team of the Final Four that have gathered San Antonio, Texas, in the Alamodome.

Michigan and Loyola-Chicago has great storylines, but the real intrigue falls in the second game, between Villanova, the East Region’s No. 1, and Kansas, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest. The Villanova-Kansas winner will probably be the national champion, and there’s no reason to think it can’t be Villanova.

The Wildcats are clearly the best of the four teams left, and it’s not just because of Jay Wright’s superior coaching, or the Cats’ superior talent, but because of the various ways Villanova can beat you.

Villanova is averaging a nation’s best 86.6 points a game, while Kansas, which relies on four guards, is averaging a similarly impressive 81.4 points a game.

In Villanova’s 71-59 victory over Texas Tech in the Elite Eight round on Sunday, the Wildcats shot 33.3 percent, their worst since Dec. 7, 2015. Villanova’s four three-pointers were its second-fewest this season, only one more than the five they made against Providence last month.

Still, Villanova won handily.


In a word—defense.

Villanova held Texas Tech to two baskets the final 4:13 to secure the victory. Texas Tech made just 20-for-60 from the floor, for 37 percent.

Kansas is coming off an enervating overtime victory over Duke, which may have taken something out of the Jayhawks.

It’s the Wildcats’ versatility that will continue to make them a tough out in the Final Four.

Quick Facts

NCAA Final Four

No. 1 Villanova (34-4) vs. No. 1 Kansas (31-7)

When: Saturday, 8:49 p.m. ET

Where: Alamodome (San Antonio, TX)

TV: TBS (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)


Villanova: Jay Wright (17th season at Villanova 420-165, overall 542-250)

Kansas: Bill Self (15th season at Kansas 447-95, overall 654-200)

Series: Series ties at 3-3

Probable starters:


G Jalen Brunson, 6-3, Jr. 19.2 ppg

G Mikal Bridges, 6-6, Jr. 17.8 ppg

G Phil Booth, 6-3, Jr. 10.3 ppg

F Omari Spellman, 6-9, Fr. 10.8 ppg

F Eric Paschall, 6-9, Jr. 10.3 ppg

Probable starters


G Devonte’ Graham, 6-2, Sr. 17.3 ppg

G Malik Newman, 6-3, So. 12.9 ppg

G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, 6-8, Sr. 15.1 ppg

G Lagerald Vick, 6-5, Jr., 12.1 ppg

C Udoka Azubuike, 7-0, So.,13.7 ppg


Joseph Santoliquito