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NCAA I March Madness

March Madness Final Four: Things to know and who to watch

This Saturday, the final four remaining teams will compete to see who makes it to the NCAA championship. Here’s the things and names you should know.

This Saturday, the final four remaining teams will compete to see who makes it to the NCAA championship. Here’s the things and names you should know.
This Saturday, the final four remaining teams will compete to see who makes it to the NCAA championship. Here’s the things and names you should know.Quinn HarrisAFP

The Final Four is upon is. This Saturday, the best of the best teams of March Madness will compete to see who will make it to the final NCAA championship game.

Who is in the Final Four and when do they play?

The No.1 Kansas Jayhawks will take on the No.2 Villanova Wildcats first at 6:09 p.m. ET. Later on at 8:49 p.m., the No.2 Duke Blue Devils take on the No.8 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Let’s take a look at each of these teams ahead of the Final Four this Saturday.

Kansas vs Villanova

The Kansas Jayhawks beat out several top teams to make it to the Elite Eight before finally obliterating Miami 76-50 to win the Midwest Region and move ahead to the Final Four. They have been dominant all through their regular season and into March Madness, winning two of their tournament games by more than 25 points. They are going into the Final Four with the best defense of the teams. They attack in the glass and are in the 95th percentile in points in the paint per game. They will be looking for their first national title since 2008.

Similarly, the Villanova Wildcats had a tough road to make it to the Elite Eight before taming the Houston Cougars, beating them 50-44. They are in the 10th percentile in paint scoring, but are the kings of free throws. In the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, they went 25 for 27 from the line and are on the verge of breaking the NCAA record for free throw percentage in a season. Where they really differ from Kansas is in their playing style. Villanova is a much slower-paced, half-court team. They’re led by star Collin Gillespie who is the best lead guard in college basketball.

Key Kansas players to watch:

Ochai Agbaji
Agbaji is an explosive player and successful shooter. In the Jayhawks last game against Miami, the 6’5” senior hit 18 points on eight of 12 shooting.

Christian Braun
Like Agbaji, Braun can also shoot well from the perimeter. He’s able to stave off defenders and get to the rim. Against Miami, he had 12 points in their 76-50 win.

Remy Martin
The transfer from Arizona State, Martin, is a quick and aggressive player who brings speed and passion to the game.

Key Villanova players to watch:

Collin Gillespie
Gillespie is a leader and is showing his appreciation for being back in the game after sitting out the end of the season last year with a torn ACL. He’s a steady shooter, putting up 20 points in the Wildcat’s second round victory over OSU and hasn’t slowed down.

Jermaine Samuels
Samuels consistently puts up several points for Villanova, with 16, 22, and 17 in the last three games during March Madness and an average of 11 on the season. Tall and aggressive, he can play both sides of the court well.

Duke vs North Carolina

Duke suffered a blowout loss to North Carolina in their final game of the regular season. They’ll have their chance at revenge and to send off Coach K the right way on Saturday when they face UNC again in New Orleans. Perhaps the biggest story of the Final Four, Duke will be looking to avoid humiliation from the same team a second time. Mike Krzyzewski’s team is full of scorers and particularly good 3-point shooters and are effective on offense. Their defense has improved in the post season, but they struggled in their last game with North Carolina, so they’ll have to be on their game to avoid a repeat upset. 

North Carolina almost didn’t even make it into March Madness to begin with. They’ve since proven they can make big wins when it matters, beating out No.1 Baylor and UCLA to make it to the Elite Eight and then fighting relentlessly to destroy Saint Peters 69-49. With players like Armando Bacot, the Tar Heels know how to impact the game in the paint. North Carolina is going to be looking to humiliate Coach K and end his post season the same way they did in the finale of their regular season.

Key Duke players to watch

Paolo Banchero
6’10” Banchero is dreaded by his opponents for his ability to defend simply by using his size against them plus his shooting success from the perimeter. In Duke’s victory over Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 he put up 22 of their 78 points and 16 of the 78 against Arkansas in the Elite Eight.

Mark Williams
One of the younger players, Williams is just a sophomore, but he is dominating on defames for the Blue Devils. He put up 12 points to help lead the team to victory in the Elite Eight.

Trevor Keels
Even younger still is Trevor Keels. He’s just a freshman, but he’s been a huge contributor in the back of the court, and puts up several points and assists per game.

Key North Carolina players to watch

Armando Bacot
Trying to keep Bacot off the glass will frustrate any opponent. He put up 20 points and 22 rebounds against Saint Peters and 14 against UCLA. He pulled down eight offensive boards against both teams. First in the nation in double-doubles, Bacot averages 16.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game and hasn’t slowed down for March Madness.

Brady Manek
Manek has been a top scorer throughout the tournament, scoring 19, 13, 26, 28, and 10 in each game so far. His three-point percentage has remained among the top in the tournament.

RJ Davis
Davis is quick and agile, and it’s him feeding the ball to Manek most of the time. He’s recorded 24 assists during March Madness, more than anyone else in the tournament so far. He is shooting 36 percent from three on the perimeter.