The Blue Devils enter the Final Four stage of March Madness as tourney favorites after beating Arkansas on Sunday. However, Vegas oddsmakers have the Kansas Jayhawks – the only No. 1 seed remaining – close behind them to go all the way.
Get betting insights and the latest March Madness odds before the Final Four games this weekend.
The Final Four
Sportsbooks initially had Kansas top of the odds table to win March Madness, but the Blue Devils’ impressive performance to beat Arkansas 78-69 knocked the Jayhawks off the top spot. Duke will now face the UNC Tar Heels, who swept away Saint Peter’s Peacocks, for a chance to reach the final game. As for Kansas, it will take on Villanova after destroying the Miami Hurricanes 76-50.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils kept Mike Krzyzewski’s goodbye tour rolling with a 78-69 victory over the Razorbacks in the Elite Eight on Sunday. The result means that the legendary coach will make his 13th Final Four appearance this weekend against a team that Duke has never faced before in March Madness.
Although the Blue Devils have been a top contender for most of the tournament, they have had to wait until now to be declared tourney favorites.
After losing 82-67 to Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament title, sophomores Jeremy Roach and Mark Williams and freshman phenoms AJ Griffin and Paolo Banchero have worked hard to transform Duke into a ruthless attacking outfit.
As North Carolina ruined the party in Coach K’s final home game by beating Duke 94-81, the players now have a chance to exact sweet revenge on the Tar Heels.
The Jayhawks showed opponents they meant business in the NCAA tournament by destroying Texas Southern 83-56 in their opening game. They then charged forward in the tourney with a 7-point win over Creighton and 66-61 victory over Providence before blowing Miami away (76-50) in the Elite Eight round.
Starman Ochai Agbaji – a March Madness MVP favorite – and Arizona State transfer Remy Martin have made Kansas a solid outfit in the backcourt. But the team has also shown that it can dismantle tough defenses when needed. For these reasons, many expect Kansas to sweep aside the Wildcats in its Final Four game this weekend.
The Villanova Wildcats ended Houston’s run with a grueling 50-44 win on Saturday. Jermaine Samuels scored 16 points and managed 10 rebounds to help the Wildcats get the win despite their misfiring stud backcourt to reach the Final Four.
As the Wildcats shoot 83% from the free-throw line and commit just 9.9 turnovers on average, they could cause problems for the Jayhawks in their next game. But because starting shooting guard Justin Moore tore his achilles in the game against Houston and that reserve guard Jordan Longino is already injured, other players will have to step up to stand a chance of getting past Kansas.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels overcoming the odds to make it this far in the tourney – including a shocking win against No. 1 seed Baylor – shows that you can’t underestimate them.
Although Vegas oddsmakers have made North Carolina the March Madness underdog, the team has some real talent that can turn it on under pressure. In the Sweet 16 game, Caleb Love’s 30 point explosion helped the Tar Heels see off the Bruins (73-66), and Armando Bacot managed 20-points and 22-rebounds to beat the Peacocks.
So if Bacot and Love hit the same heights in their Final Four game, they could spoil Coach K’s leaving party.