While one side of the 2018 Final Four features two teams that began the season unranked, the other showcases a pair of squads that have had national title aspirations since Fall: Villanova and Kansas. Both prestigious programs with rich histories, both No. 1 seeds and both ruthlessly efficient offensively. And only one will be advancing to the national championship on Saturday night.
The game is scheduled to start at about 8:49 p.m. ET (25 minutes after the conclusion of Michigan vs Loyola-Chicago, which stats at 6:09 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast nationally on TBS. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game, as well as other NCAA tournament games, live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: TBS is included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including TBS. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
Sling TV: TBS is included in both the “Sling Blue” and “Sling Orange” channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of either, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Note: You can also watch any tournament game on your computer via the March Madness Live website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the March Madness Live app. To watch these streams, you’ll have a free preview before needing to sign in to a TV provider to keep watching, but if you don’t have cable, you can do this by logging in with your Hulu credentials.
If you like offense, you’re going to like this game.
Let’s start with Villanova, whose adjusted offensive efficiency of 127.2 is the second-best rate since KenPom.com began tracking the number 17 seasons ago. They have two legitimate superstars in National Player of the Year Jalen Brunson and potential lottery pick Mikal Bridges, and all six of their main rotation players can shoot the three at a good clip.
A well-oiled offensive machine that can pick teams apart with penetration and crisp ball movement, the Wildcats are second in the country in effective field-goal percentage, third in two-point percentage, ninth in free-throw percentage, 14th in turnover percentage and 15th in three-point percentage. And while they generally crush opponents with their three-point shooting, they proved against Texas Tech–one of the best defensive teams in the country–that they can win without shooting it well, as they hit just 4-of-24 from deep but still scored 71 points and 1.08 points per possession, due in large part to 20 offensive rebounds.
Kansas counters with a similar outside-in offensive attack. Devonte’ Graham is an AP First-Team All-American, Malik Newman has been playing like an AP First-Team All-American (22.7 points per game since postseason play began, including 32 against Duke), Svi Mykhailiuk and Lagerald Vick can both get hot from the outside, and Udoka Azubuike is a 7-footer who controls the interior.
Put it all together, and the Jayhawks have the fifth-best adjusted offensive efficiency, sixth-best effective field-goal percentage and ninth-best three-point percentage in the nation. In the Elite Eight, they became one of the few teams to truly beat Duke’s 2-3 zone, pouring in 13 threes and 1.09 points per possession.
Even if you take out everything that’s at stake–potentially a second national championship appearance in three years for Villanova, or a third trip to the final for Bill Self, which would surpass what Roy Williams did in Lawrence–this sets up as what could easily be the best game of the season.