By Darren Cooper
College basketball is all about the Final Four this Saturday in New Orleans.
And the games are all about the three-point shot.
Threes have overtaken college basketball, and BetMGM Illinois has a special promotion for March Madness fans as we enter the final weekend of the season.
New players in Illinois can earn $200 in free bets (four $50 wagers) by betting $10 on the outcome of either of the two Final Four games if either one of the teams hits a three in the game.
Even if your bet loses, if there is a three that goes swish, banks in, or rattles around the rim before going in, you get your free bets.
If this were the Super Bowl, there would be bets on whether the first shot of each game was a three (I’ll say the odds are 5-1).
You know the threes are going to fly.
BetMGM has a way for you to capitalize on the three-ball.
When/where is the Final Four?
We have reached the end of March Madness; in fact, it will be April when the two Final Four games tip off in the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans on Saturday.
For multiple reasons, it’s being called a “Blueblood” Final Four. First, each team wears a different shade of blue in their uniform.
<Second, Villanova, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas all have a pedigree of national championships.
Combined, the four programs have won 20 national titles. North Carolina is the lowest seed remaining at 8, but come on; they’re the Tar Heels.
They have won seven national championships and are the college home of that Michael Jordan guy, who was a big deal in Illinois too
The 3s in the Final Fours: Breaking down the matchups
Here are the current odds at online sportsbooks in Illinois:
2 Villanova vs. 1 Kansas, 5:09 p.m.
The big storyline entering this contest will be how Villanova handles playing without All-Big East second-team guard Justin Moore, who suffered a torn Achilles late in the Wildcats’ regional final win over Houston.
Moore is a three-year starter who has averaged 15 points a game. This means the burden will fall on the Wildcats star Collin Gillespie even more.
Kansas is in their 16th Final Four all-time. Senior Remy Martin was the MVP of the Midwest Region and the Jayhawks came roaring back in the regional final against Miami; trailing by six at halftime, the Jayhawks won by 26. Kansas has won nine in a row. The winner has cut down the nets the last three times these teams have played in the NCAA Tournament.
Number of threes made by Villanova this season: 342
Number of threes made by Kansas this season: 267
8 North Carolina vs. 2 Duke, 7:49 p.m.
You’d have to be playing basketball under a rock not to know that this was the final season for legendary Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. The hype hit an incredible point when Duke played North Carolina in the regular-season finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Every Duke legend (it seemed) was there to greet Krzyzewski and watch a Duke win.
North Carolina had other ideas.
Tar Heels center Armando Bacot had 23 points and four Carolina players had 20 or more in a crowd-quieting 94-81 victory.
It put a damper on the Coach K celebration and made people forget that Duke clobbered Carolina 87-67 at the Smith Center in February.
This is the first time these two teams have ever met in the NCAA Tournament. This is all about who controls the paint. Bacot is a stud. Duke has a blossoming star in freshman forward Paolo Banchero.
The two teams have played 257 times. UNC leads the series 142-115. Coach K is 50-47 all-time against UNC. The schools are eight miles apart, friendly/heated rivals. This will be a game talked about for years.
Number of threes made by Duke this season: 303
Number of threes made by North Carolina this season: 273