The # 2 seeded Villanova Wildcats will take on the # 2 seeded Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night in the first game of the Final Four after both took out the # 1 seed in their brackets. Villanova moves on after beating the Kansas Jay Hawks 64-59 and is back in the final four since 2009. Oklahoma took out Oregon 80-68 and will be making their 5th Final Four appearance in program history.
Oklahoma has relied on the scoring of Buddy Hield who is averaging over 29 points per game in the tournament but his performance against Oregon was his best so far. He scored 37 points while shooting 8 of 13 from three-point range. His 117 points through the first 4 games are the most since Stephen Curry’s 128 in 2008. Woodard chipped in with 13 points and Isiah Cousins had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. As a team they shot 47 percent from the field including 50 percent from behind the arc making 12 of their 24 attempts. Defensively, they limited Oregon to 39 percent shooting including 19 percent from three-point range making only 4 of their 21 attempts. While they outrebounded Oregon 38 to 32, they committed 15 turnovers to Oregon’s 12. If there was a negative it was they allowed Oregon to take 30 free throws while they only took 17.
Villanova used a great defense and balanced scoring to take out the tournaments overall # seed. Ryan Arcidiacono, Josh Hart and Kris Jenkins all scored 13 for Villanova accounting for 39 of the teams 64 points. While they only combined to shoot 12 for 33 from the floor including 3 for 15 from three-point range, they went 13 for 14 from the foul line. Arcidiacono has made 58 percent of his three point attempts so far in the tournament. As a team, Villanova went 18 for 19 from the line while Kansas only went 7 for 11. Defensively, they had 11 steals and forced Kansas into 16 turnovers. The 59 points they allowed to Kansas was the Jay Hawks lowest total all season. Kansas star Perry Ellis who has averaged 17 points per game in the tournament was held to just 4 points on 1 of 5 shooting. They were also outrebounded by Kansas 32-28 and while also committing 16 turnovers.
These two teams met back in early December with Oklahoma blowing out Villanova 78-55 but Villanova has went 28-4 since and is actually favored in this game by 2 points. Villanova has covered the spread in all four of their tournament games including 3-0 as the favorite. Oklahoma has gone 3-1 against the spread in their 4 tournament games. Villanova will be seeking revenge and being named the favorite just goes to show how far they have come since that blowout loss 4 months ago. On the other hand, Buddy Hield has refused to let Oklahoma lose and has the offensive ability to completely take over a game.
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