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2012 Final Four Schedules: Predicting Winners from Tonight's Epic Showdowns

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 31: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball during during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Rupp Arena on December 31, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Austin GreenCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2012

Brace yourselves, folks, because the 2012 Final Four is officially here.

We've got two salivating matchups tonight, as Louisville-Kentucky could send The Bluegrass State into all-out civil war, and Kansas-Ohio State will feature one of the best big-man battles in recent memory.

The Cardinals and Wildcats kick off the action at 6:09 ET, while the Jayhawks and Buckeyes square off shortly after at 8:49 ET. Here are my predictions for tonight's games.

 

Louisville vs Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 31:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball during the 69-62 win over the Louisville Cardinals at Rupp Arena on December 31, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Rick Pitino's crew has fought valiantly in the tournament, but Kentucky is just too big, too athletic and too talented for Louisville to handle.

The Wildcats are the best and most balanced team in the country. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will likely go 1-2 in the NBA draft, and Kentucky has a slew of other proven contributors in Terrance Jones, Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb.

When the two met earlier this season, Kentucky prevailed 69-62 behind a monster 24-point, 19-rebound performance from Kidd-Gilchrist. I'm expecting him to step up again tonight and lead the Wildcats to the national title game.

Prediction: Kentucky 71, Louisville 63


Kansas vs Ohio State

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks passes to Justin Wesley #4 during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on December 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kansas beat Ohio State 78-67 in December, but Jared Sullinger missed that game because of back spasms. He'll be in the lineup tonight, and I'm expecting him to neutralize Kansas star Thomas Robinson.

This game will also feature an epic showdown between point guards Aaron Craft and Tyshawn Taylor. The Jayhawks are reliant on Taylor's scoring ability, while Craft orchestrates Ohio State on both ends of the floor. Whoever wins this individual matchup will likely lead their team to victory.

This should be a very close game, but I'm picking Ohio State to advance. I think Robinson and Sullinger will cancel each other out, Craft will get the best of Taylor and the Buckeyes will get big games from Deshaun Thomas and William Buford.

Prediction: Ohio State 74, Kansas 68

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