After a tournament full of upsets and excellent storylines – the March Madness Final Four has been set. If you’re a college basketball fan, but also would like a little extra cash, keep reading. These two games will decide which pair of teams will compete for a National title. We’re going to break down both games, both from a matchup perspective and using the college basketball betting odds.
No. 11 Loyola Chicago at No. 3 Michigan – 6:09 PM on TBS
Loyola Chicago Ramblers
Loyola and Sister Jean are the tournament’s ultimate Cinderella. The Ramblers are back in the Big Dance for the first time since the 1984-85 season. They’re just two victories away from the program’s first National Championship in 55 years. Kansas, Villanova, and Michigan, all powerhouses have been impressive going into the tournament regarding record, but no one can touch Loyola. The team has won 14 straight games.
They took care of No. 9 seed, Kansas State, last weekend to earn a trip to the Final Four. The Ramblers didn’t need much help in this one. They had the game well in hand with a 22-point lead with over 13 minutes left in the second half. They won by a final score of 78-62.
The Wolverines won the Big Ten Tournament to end the season and have been on a run ever since. Most of their games in the tournament have been relatively close so far. They narrowly got by Houston 64-43 in the Second Round, blew out Texas A&M in the Sweet 16, but then narrowly edged out Florida State in the Elite 8.
Betting Odds on this Final Four Match-Up
Michigan sits at -5.5 or -5 at most sportsbooks after opening at -5. Tickets have been even for both sides, for the most part, but amount bet has come in larger on the Wolverines. The total opened at 128 points and is now at 129 or 129.5.
Ramblers vs Wolverines Prediction
Both teams match up quite similarly. Their offenses are efficient, and their defenses are fantastic. Neither team will want to turn this game into a track meet. Still, both sides have shown the ability to run, if needed.
The Ramblers have been a great story, and they’re one of the best offensive teams in the nation. However, they’ve shot extremely hot in recent weeks and Michigan will easily be the most robust test they have faced in the tournament defensively.
The Wolverines have stifled opposing offenses all tournament. They haven’t allowed more than 72 points in any game, and the 72-point mark was in a blowout win against Texas A&M where they let off the gas.
Loyola’s offensive fireworks and shooting displays would fittingly come to an end against Michigan, and that’s exactly what I expect to happen. Yes, they deserve to be where they are, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to trounced by Michigan.
Our Pick: Michigan -5 or -5.5
No. 1 Kansas at No. 1 Villanova – 8:49 PM on TBS
Kansas comes out of the Midwest Region after taking down the Big 12 regular season title and fighting hard throughout the NCAA Tournament. Other than their 76-60 win against Pennsylvania to start March Madness, each game has been hard fought. They narrowly took care of Seton Hall in the Second Round by a score of 83-79.
To finally punch their ticket to the Final Four, they rallied against Duke to force overtime and then dominated the extra period, winning by a score of 85-81.
Like KU, Villanova also took care of business as the No. 1 seed in the East Region. Like the Jayhawks, they won their conference tournament before rattling off four straight NCAA Tournament victories, with comfortable wins against Radford and Alabama, but physical and tough triumphs over No. 5 West Virginia and No. 3 Texas Tech to reach the Final Four.
Betting Action on this Final Four Match-Up
The point spread is nearly identical to the first game. Although, betting tickets have been spread a bit more evenly, the number has jumped between -5 and -5.5, and is at -5 at most sportsbooks in favor of the Villanova Wildcats.
Jayhawks vs Wildcats Prediction
It’s hard not to go with the favorite once again in this one. Villanova is the best offensive team in the league, scoring 87 points per game and shooting 50 percent from the field. They also rebound the ball exceptionally well and don’t turn the ball over. That’s a recipe for a victory, on most nights.
It was the Wildcats defense that won the game against Texas Tech last Sunday. They also played extremely well against the pressure defense that WVU employed against them. Even though that game was much lower scoring than usual.
With how well Nova’s defense has played this tournament – they’re easily the favorite to win this game and the National Title. Duke was likely over slotted in this tournament to being with, and their defense against the Jayhawks was downright pathetic.
I don’t see them being able to stop Villanova’s offense flow in this one, and they will also likely struggle on the defensive end. I like the favorites in this one and possibly by double digits.
Our Pick: Villanova -5 or -5.5