Busting Brackets

Villanova vs Kansas: 2022 NCAA Tournament game preview, TV schedule

Kansas senior guard Remy Martin (11) dribbles down court during the first half of Wednesday's game against Nevada inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas senior guard Remy Martin (11) dribbles down court during the first half of Wednesday's game against Nevada inside Allen Fieldhouse. /

Kansas and Villanova is a battle of two of the most consistent programs in college basketball and the NCAA Tournament. But only one gets to make it to the national title game.

TV schedule: Saturday, April 2nd, 6:09 pm ET. TBS

Arena: Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana 

There’s going to be a ton of attention on the second half of Saturday’s Final Four double-heading between Duke and North Carolina, for obvious reasons. But it takes one of the best rivalries in sports to overshadow what should be a great NCAA Tournament matchup between Villanova and Kansas, two of the best programs and overall programs in college hoops.

Kansas path to the Final Four

After an easy 27-point win over Texas Southern in the opening round, the Jayhawks had a 40-minute fight against the Creighton Bluejays, who proved to be incredibly feisty despite losing starting point guard Ryan Nembhard. Kansas was able to make a pair of clutch shots at the end to win, 79-72, led by 20 points from Remy Martin off the bench, along with 14 points and 14 rebounds from Jalen Wilson.

Wilson and Martin came up huge again in the Sweet 16 against Providence, combining to produce 39 points and 18 rebounds in the Jayhawks‘ 66-61 victory, a game in which neither team shot over 40% from the field. There was more offense in the Elite 8 game against Miami, although the Hurricanes were in control for the first 25 minutes.

However, after the game was tied at 40 each, Kansas ended the game on a 36-10 run to cash their ticket to the Final Four. Ochai Agbaji broke out of a March slump to score 18 points, with David McCormack chipping in with 15.

Villanova’s path to the Final Four

The 2 seed Wildcats had little issue with Delaware in the Round of 64, winning by 20 points. They did have an issue with Malaki Branham of Ohio State, who made a run of his own to make the game suddenly in doubt in the second half. However, Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels refused to lose, eventually pulling the lead back out to 10 points for the win.

The Michigan matchup in the Sweet 16 was fairly close for the most part, with the Wildcats’ offense never really getting into gear. But their defense on Hunter Dickinson, combined with another 22 points from Samuels allowed them to sneak out with a 63-55 win.

Against Houston in the Elite 8, Villanova led by double figures for most of the matchup, until a late Cougars run allowed them to make the game close in the final five minutes. But when you have multiple national champion-winning players, these moments weren’t going to be too big for them. Despite the shooting struggles, the Wildcats were able to win 50-44, led by 22 and 10 from Samuels.

Injury storylines

It wasn’t all good for Villanova in the Elite 8 win, as star guard Justin Moore went down with a left injury that all but ends his season. He’s averaging just under 15 ppg on the season and was arguably the reason Villanova was able to beat Michigan. This Wildcats team has little depth, to begin with, mostly playing just six guys in key games. Now, they’ll to play either Bryan Antoine or  Chris Arcidiacono for 15-20 minutes, as 6th man Caleb Daniels was already playing around 36 mpg before the injury.

On the other hand, Remy Martin is playing his best basketball in a Kansas uniform after dealing with injuries for the first few months of the season. The Arizona State transfer is capable of scoring 20 points in a given game and he’s done that in the NCAA Tournament so far. His emergence has given the team another key scorer to go along with Agabji, who hasn’t even played well so far.

Next. Final mid-major power rankings for 2021-22 season. dark

This is going to be a tough game for Villanova to win, with 20% of its scoring production now out. They’ll need Gillespie, Samuels, and Daniels to have big games to even have a chance and definitely avoid foul trouble. But Kansas just has too much, especially with Martin in the fold, to not have enough to make the national title game.

Prediction: Kansas 73, Villanova 60