Blue bloods and an upstart

26 March 2018 08:13:52 EST
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self.

Villanova, Kansas, Michigan and Loyola (Chi) will battle for the national crown in San Antonio as the four teams advanced from Regional play in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan, 5/2 to win the NCAAB Championship outright, and Loyola (Chi) had won through on Saturday and were joined on Sunday by Villanova (10/11) and Kansas (7/2) who got the better of Texas Tech and Duke respectively.

It sets up a fascinating couple of games at the Alamodome in San Antonio with the winner of the match between the Wildcats and the Jayhawks projected to be the favourites against either the Ramblers or the Wolverines.

Champions two years ago, Villanova appeared the smart choice in this year's field with an experienced team and a relatively reasonable bracket that included #2 Purdue, #3 Texas Tech and #4 Wichita State.

The Wildcats have, within context, strolled through their four games getting the better of Radford, Alabama, West Virginia and Texas Tech. Jalen Brunson led the way for Villanova against the Red Raiders with 15 points in what was a poorly played game. The Wildcats shot just 19-of-57 from the floor, including 4-of-24 from long range, but were fortunate that Texas Tech were equally inept.

In contrast the Kansas vs Duke encounterwas worthy of something more than an Elite Eight match up with the Jayhawks securing an 85-81 triumph in overtime. Malik Newman went off for Kansas with a game-high 32 points and was ably supported by three other players in double figures.

Trevon Duval led the way for the Blue Devils with 20 points, but once against a heavily laden one and done side has failed to meet expectations. It will be curious to see if coach Mike Krzyzewski changes his recent philosophy in recruiting after yet another season in which Duke fell short.

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