Final Four Predictions 2014: Preview and Projections for Updated Bracket

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Final Four Predictions 2014: Preview and Projections for Updated Bracket
John Bazemore

The vast majority of Americans predicted UConn and Kentucky would be eliminated before the 2014 Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four.

Well, Shabazz Napier and Julius Randle seemingly don't care what the vast majority of Americans think. They've led the seventh-seeded Huskies and eighth-seeded Wildcats, respectively, to within one game of the national championship.

Here is their remaining road to the title, as well as more predictions neither Napier nor Randle care about.

2014 Final Four Schedule
Date Time (ET) Team Team TV
Saturday, April 5 6:09 p.m. Florida UConn TBS
Saturday, April 5 8:49 p.m. Wisconsin Kentucky TBS

ESPN

 

Napier Won't Be Enough

Seth Wenig

Napier has been a boss. Since the Big Dance began, he's averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. No player in college basketball has been better.

However, Florida is a rough matchup for Napier and Connecticut. The Huskies beat the Gators this season, but back on Dec. 3. Since then, UF has won 30 straight games, rendering the loss irrelevant.

And Connecticut's weakness has become Florida's strength. While UConn has only five players who contribute at least 5.0 points per game, UF boasts seven.

It isn't like Napier is playing head and shoulders above Scottie Wilbekin either. While Napier has been better, Wilbekin's 19.0 points per game and zero turnovers in the last two games is enough—combined with the Gators' depth—to give them a significant edge.

Prediction: Florida by six

 

Randle Will Be Enough

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

...As will James Young, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein.

On paper, Kentucky has been one of, if not the best team all year. Its entire starting five are first-round prospects, for crying out loud. Despite the young Wildcats' immense talent, though, they lost 10 games before the NCAA tournament.

Youth had held them back. Note the past tense. The team too young and too raw has hit its stride, emerging from the "region of death" by beating No. 1-seeded Wichita State, fourth-seeded Louisville and second-seeded Michigan.

If this Kentucky team has truly fulfilled its potential, which its March Madness success suggests that it has, it won't be stopped. This is no knock to Wisconsin.

The Badgers are a talented, well-coached ballclub. But having only one 2014 NBA draft prospect in Sam Dekker, they're more well-coached than talented.

Prediction: Kentucky by two

 

David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.

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