The tournament continues with the first day of the Elite Eight on Saturday. We have seen history so far in this tournament and can expect to see more this weekend. Today’s games include some of the best teams who have been at the top of their conferences all season.
We start off Saturday with the South region finals between #5 Houston and #2 Villanova. Houston is coming off of a win against one seed Arizona, while Villanova recorded back-to-back Big Ten wins. We then head to the West region finals between #3 Arkansas and #2 Duke. Arkansas just knocked off the number one overall seed of the tournament in Gonzaga. Duke has continued to keep winning for Coach K in his final season. This should be a great game in store for Saturday.
Now let’s take a closer look into Saturday’s best bets.
5 Houston vs 2 Villanova
The Bet: Houston -2.5
We start off Saturday in the South region in a great matchup between #5 Houston and #2 Villanova. Houston is playing their best basketball and Villanova is winning in March like they usually do. This should be a great game that comes down to the wire.
Houston has been great all season with a 32-5 record and were AAC champions. Houston is playing some of their best basketball of the season right now and they were a top team all regular season. Houston started off the tournament with a matchup with UAB that they easily dominated, before surprising Illinois when most picked them to lose that game. The Cougars followed that up by beating No. 1 seed Arizona by 12 on Thursday. Houston has been playing great all around specifically on defense. They only allowed 53 points to Illinoins and 60 to Arizona. Houston needs to continue playing with intensity on defense which they have the past two games especially. Houston will need to slow down Collin Gillespie specially to shut Villanova down.
Villanova has also been a great team all season with a 29-7 record and were Big East champions. Villanova was a top team all during the regular season and that high level of play has carried into the tournament. Villanova started the tournament against Delaware and beat them by 20, they then took on Ohio State and won by ten, finally Villanova just beat Michigan in a close game on Thursday. Villanova has looked great on defense so far in the tournament, the most points they have allowed was 61. Villanova also can score at a high rate behind Collin Gillespie. Gillespie was injured towards the end of the Michigan game and he most like won’t be 100% for Saturday’s game. Villanova will have to not rely on their leading scorer as much for this game.
We think Villanova will struggle to score and Houston will cover the 2.5 point spread.
3 Arkansas vs 2 Duke
The Bet: Duke -4
We head to the West region to end the first day of the Elite Eight with #3 Arkansas and #2 Duke. Arkansas is playing some of their best basketball at the perfect time. Duke has looked good and are looking to get Coach K to one last Final Four.
Duke has been a top ten team all season with a 31-6 record. Duke started off their tournament run with a easy win over CSU Fullerton, then Duke beat Michigan State in a great game, and finally outlasted Texas Tech in a thriller Thursday. Duke has looked great so far in close games they have played and have shown they do not panic when they are trailing. Duke has a very talented team led by the best coach in the nation. They have been tested early so far in the tournament and have shown their toughness and resilience. Duke is a real threat to win it all if they win this game.
Arkansas has been a good team this season, but has had their ups and downs. They have a 28-8 record and are a great team. Arkansas started the tournament with a win in a very close game against Vermont, Arkansas then outlasted New Mexico in a close game, finally Arkansas beat the top overall seed Gonzaga in a thriller on Thursday. Arkansas has shown they are tough and can force their way in the paint while also shooting from range. They also have been playing outstanding defense so far this tournament. Arkansas will need to play a similar game as they did against Gonzaga for Duke. Like the Zags, Duke is a bigger team and Arkansas will need to try to keep them out of the paint and force their bigs to possibly foul out. Arkansas needs to do exactly what they did to Gonzaga to win.
We think Duke will be able to handle the toughness of Arkansas and cover the 4 point spread.