Everyone may like a close game at this point of the year, but we're not going to get one from either of the national semifinals on Saturday. No, the Kentucky Wildcats and Ohio State Buckeyes are going to end the seasons of the Louisville Cardinals and Kansas Jayhawks and will do so emphatically.
The two games will have similar results, but as we'll see, they will be achieved differently.
Semifinal 1: Louisville vs. Kentucky (6:09 p.m. ET)
Louisville has a serious problem in this one. If I am being really nice to the Cardinals, I would say that they could score in the low 70s on a good day. Realistically, they're probably 5-10 points below that.
That in and of itself is not a huge problem. No, that rests in the fact that they're playing a team with six double-digit scorers, meaning that you really can't imagine a low-scoring lineup on the floor at any time for the Wildcats.
So, you have a team that will struggle to hit 70 against a team that's averaging 88 points a game in the tournament and scored at least 80 points in all four contests.
Too many things are going to have to break in Louisville's favor for this game to even be close.
Prediction: Kentucky 84, Louisville 67
Semifinal 2: Kansas vs. Ohio State (8:49 p.m. ET)
These are not the same teams that played at the beginning of the year, which is a good thing for the Buckeyes. They just have too many weapons at the top of the rotation on offense, and a killer perimeter defender in Aaron Craft.
Kansas has Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, but they won't be enough to match Jared Sullinger, William Buford and Deshaun Thomas. Ultimately, the Jayhawks will just score too many points and are too good on defense.
Kansas has been on the right end of a lot of good fortune this tournament, winning games against teams that choked at the end (Purdue, North Carolina State) or were depleted with injuries, like North Carolina. Neither scenario will play out here.
Prediction: Ohio State 79, Kansas 66
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