The 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been entertaining thus far, and it will only get better as the final two matchups of the Elite Eight are completed Sunday.
With Michigan State taking on Connecticut and Kentucky squaring off against Michigan, the battle for the final two spots in the Final Four will be some of the most enthralling on-court action of the entire tournament.
Here is all the updated bracket information, a full schedule of the remaining games and the picks and odds for Sunday’s action.
All Your Bracket Essentials
|Elite Eight Schedule, Picks and Odds|
|Date||Regional Finals||Time (ET)||TV||Picks||Odds|
|Sun, March 30||Connecticut vs. Michigan State||2:20 p.m.||CBS||Michigan State||Michigan State -5.5|
|Sun, March 30||Kentucky vs. Michigan||5:05 p.m.||CBS||Michigan||Kentucky -2.5|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Picks||Odds|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||6 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||N/A||N/A|
|Sat, April 5||National Semifinal - TBD||8:30 p.m.||TBS, TNT, truTV||N/A||N/A|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Picks||Odds|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||N/A||N/A|
|Source: NCAA.com and Covers.com|
Sunday’s Best Matchup: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 8 Kentucky
The best matchup of the final two remaining Elite Eight matchups will be the intense battle between the No. 2-seeded Michigan Wolverines (28-8, 15-3 Big Ten) and the No. 8-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (27-10, 12-6 SEC).
Kentucky has a roster made up primarily of freshman stars that dominate the minutes each game, and despite the injury to forward Willie Cauley-Stein (doubtful for Sunday, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com), the Wildcats still have plenty of talent and depth.
When asked about why the team didn’t find success earlier in the season, Kentucky head coach John Calipari told Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated about the adjustments he made to the program that led to this Elite Eight matchup:
We’ll go to whatever we have to try to do to do this. The stuff we tweaked before the (SEC) tournament, I should have done that two months before. And they know it. The stuff I did before the NCAA tournament, I should have done that earlier.
I’m going to wait until it’s over and I’ll go through everything that we did and when I did it. When you hear what I did, you’ll say: Makes perfect sense. And then you’re going to ask: Why didn’t you do it earlier? And I’m going to tell you: I don’t know.
Calipari is one of the most intriguing personalities in college basketball and what he says is very interesting, but his team is in serious trouble against a very talented Michigan program.
With dangerous offensive weapons at almost every position, Calipari knows how dangerous Michigan will be Sunday, according to John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader:
The Wolverines averaged 75 points per game this season and amassed an impressive field-goal percentage of .481. Add in the versatility and tenacity of sophomore guard Nik Stauskas (averaging 17.3 points per game), and the program has the grit and offensive power to limit Kentucky’s effectiveness.
Neither of the two teams wants to miss out on an opportunity to cash its ticket to the Final Four, and the resulting game has the potential to get heated. The physical nature of both teams will make this an instant classic.
Predicted Final Score: Michigan 77, Kentucky 76
*Stats via ESPN.com.