Kansas Jayhawks the Chalk for Title After Tar Heels Rock Duke in Final Four
Posted on: April 2, 2022, 11:36h.
Last updated on: April 3, 2022, 04:46h.
Kansas and North Carolina, two of college basketball’s most storied programs, will meet up at the Caesars Superdome for Monday’s 2022 NCAA championship game. Oddsmakers believe the Kansas Jayhawks are a solid favorite to cut down the nets in New Orleans.
Sportsbooks across the country installed the Jayhawks as a 4- or 4.5-point favorite. That came moments after the Tar Heels shocked their in-state rival Duke 81-77 on Saturday night in a game that very much lived up to the hype surrounding it.
KU reached the title game after beating Villanova 81-65.
For those interested in moneylines, the straight-up odds for KU ranged from -170 at DraftKings to -205 at FanDuel. That means sportsbooks give the Jayhawks anywhere from a 63 to 67 percent expectation of winning its fourth NCAA title and first since 2008.
Oddsmakers also expect an offensive show, with point totals hovering around 153. Based on the spreads, that would likely put both teams scoring in the mid-to-high 70s.
The game tips off at 9:20 pm ET. It will air on TBS and will be available to stream at ncaa.com.
KU Dominates on Way to Title Game
Kansas was one of the four No. 1 seeds in the tournament, but oddsmakers did not think that highly of them. After the pairings were announced on March 13, the Jayhawks futures market odds ranged +700 at PointsBet to +1400 at FanDuel.
But aside from a late run by Providence in the Sweet 16 and a strong first half by Miami in the Elite Eight, the Jayhawks have been dominant over the last two weeks. Coach Bill Self’s team was the only top seed to make it to the Final Four.
Self told reporters after Saturday’s win that getting to the championship game means a lot. That’s especially since he thought his team had a great chance to win it all in 2020 before COVID-19 forced the cancellation of March Madness.
There’s no guarantees in this tournament,” Self said. “A lot of times the favorites don’t win, obviously. But in ’20, we had a team that was equipped to make a run.”
Fueling this year’s run has been Ochai Agbaji. The 6-5 senior guard leads the team, averaging nearly 19 points a game. In Saturday’s win over the Wildcats, Agbaji scored 21 points, thanks to 6-of-7 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tar Heels to Enjoy “Special Moment”
It seems odd to call a storied program like North Carolina a Cinderella story in this year’s tournament. But few gave the six-time NCAA champions much of a chance to survive the opening weekend in this year’s event.
UNC entered the tournament as an eight seed in the 16-team East Regional. However, after walloping Marquette in the first round, coach Hubert Davis’ squad held on to upset regional top-seed Baylor in the second round. They needed overtime to advance after squandering a 25-point lead with less than 11 minutes left in regulation.
At FanDuel, the odds for UNC to win the tournament on March 13 were +20000. After they reached the Sweet 16, their odds were +2600.
In Saturday’s win over Duke, a victory that ended the career of Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, UNC got 28 points from sophomore guard Caleb Love, and an 11-point, 21-rebound performance from junior post Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels are a strong offensive team, with Bacot, Love, graduate forward Brady Manek, and sophomore guard R.J. Davis all averaging at least 13.5 points a game.
Hubert Davis said he wants his kids to enjoy the victory, He trusts they’ll be ready in less than 48 hours for the biggest game of their careers.
“This is a special moment for them,” the UNC coach said. “This is a special moment for our program. So I want them to enjoy themselves, and so that’s important. But we have more than enough time to prepare for an unbelievable Kansas team, and playing for the national championship, if you’re not motivated for that, you shouldn’t be playing.”