Well, the Villanova Wildcats were successful in controlling the tempo against Kansas, the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and held the Jayhawks, a very proficient three-point-shooting team, to just 27% from long-range. Will that same kind of strategy work against the Oklahoma Sooners? They didn’t do too well the first time around when facing Buddy Hield and his teammates, but this time the stakes are much higher – a spot in the national championship game that takes place on Monday night. BetAnySports customers can utilize reduced juice wagering before the 6 PM ET tipoff at NRG Stadium in Houston, and then after the contest begins, they can continue to place wagers using the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Extra.
Villanova is a team staffed by veterans, and coach Jay Wright, for the most part, uses a four-guard offense that likes to concentrate on the “dribble drive,” which is designed to penetrate, kick out, and get outside shots. The problem for Villanova is that they haven’t really been sensational from beyond the three-point line this season (35.4%), but they have done much better than that in this tournament, at least until they faced Kansas. But on the positive side, the Wildcats demonstrated that they don’t have to be red-hot from downtown in order to beat a great team. They only hit four out of 18 three-pointers against the Jayhawks.
Shooting may be problematic at this venue, because of the depth perception involved, and it has played some havoc in 12 previous tournament games, when the combined three-point shooting percentage has been below 30%.
In the Final Four betting odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Villanova is the slight favorite:
For Oklahoma, it is certainly going to be critical that they shoot well. And they usually do. Hield is grand enough to have been named player of the year just recently, and he has averaged 29.3 points in this tournament. However, he was slowed down a little bit against Texas A&M in the regional semi-finals, but the Sooners proved they could win without him having a huge game, as fellow guard Jordan Woodard scored 22. Hield only had 18 points when these teams met back in December in Hawaii, but that didn’t matter very much, because Oklahoma rambled to a 78-55 victory, in the process holding Villanova to just four triples out of 32 attempts.
BetAnySports customers have obviously seen some improvement in Villanova since then. Right now they are ranked fourth in the country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and obviously it didn’t get that way primarily from sinking three-pointers. The Sooners have done a really good defensive job in their last two games, holding Texas A&M to 34% and Oregon to 39%. Villanova, meanwhile, hit just 40% from the field against Kansas after going wild with 58%, 59% and 63% in the first three games of the tournament. Still, they have shot at least 48% in eight of their last 10 games.
Villanova has to be on their toes right from the start, because Oklahoma has gotten out of the box quickly, leading their last three opponents (VCU, Texas A&M, Oregon) by a total of 50 points at the half.
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