UConn and Kentucky ruined 2014 NCAA brackets on Sunday.
The seventh-seeded Huskies shocked fourth-seeded Michigan State by the score of 60-54 in the afternoon. The eighth-seeded Wildcats upset second-seeded Michigan 75-72 in the evening. The victors will continue to face teams once thought far higher of in the Final Four, Connecticut against first-seeded Florida and Kentucky vs. second-seeded Wisconsin.
Here are Final Four schedules and predictions after Sunday's surprising action.
|Saturday, April 5||6:09 p.m.||Florida||UConn||TBS|
|Sunday, April 5||8:49 p.m.||Wisconsin||Kentucky||TBS|
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 7 Connecticut
The Gators haven't lost since they traveled to Connecticut on Dec. 2, 2013. The Huskies won by the score of 65-64. But, 30 straight wins later, it's clear Florida has improved since then.
In fact, as SportsCenter noted, only losses against Final Four teams stand between the Gators and a perfect season.
Florida's only 2 losses this year were on the road to Final Four teams UConn & Wisconsin. Gators lost by a combined 7 points.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2014
UConn is hot too. At least senior guard Shabazz Napier is. He's averaging 23.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the NCAA tournament.
Napier also dominated in the Huskies' first meeting with UF.
No individual on Florida has been that dominant. But head coach Billy Donovan hasn't needed any one player to be. Four Gators—Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Michael Frazier II and Patric Young score double-digit points per game.
Connecticut has just three players who do the same. Donovan also utilizes seven players who score at least 5.0 points per game, compared to just five such performers for UConn.
The Huskies can, without a doubt, upset Florida. They just sent home favored fourth-seeded Michigan State, third-seeded Iowa State and first-seeded Villanova. But, combined with inferior depth, Connecticut has lost eight more games since Dec. 2, 2013, than Florida has—which is why it's an underdog, according to Trev Rogers of Bet Vega News.
Florida -6.5 vs. UConn #Final4— Trev Rogers (@BetVegaNews) March 30, 2014
The Gators' winning streak will rise to 31 next Saturday.
Florida by six
No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Kentucky
Wisconsin and Kentucky were built using different blueprints.
While every player in the Wildcats' starting lineup is a 2014 NBA first-round prospect, the Badgers would be lucky to have more than one player, Sam Dekker, hear his name called. And while 30-7 Wisconsin boasts a better resume entering the Final Four than 28-10 Kentucky, the young Wildcats still find themselves favored, according Fox Sports Live's Todd Fuhrman.
Kentucky -2.5 against Wisconsin— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) March 30, 2014
Wisconsin will certainly enter Saturday evening with an experience advantage. The only player in Kentucky's starting five who isn't a freshman is sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein. Comparatively, the Badgers start one senior, three juniors and one sophomore.
Eight seeds also haven't had much success advancing to the national championship in the past, according to SportsCenter.
Kentucky is the fifth 8 seed to make the Final Four, joining Butler, UNC, Wisconsin and Villanova. Nova is the only team to win it all.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2014
Of course, this Kentucky team isn't the typical No. 8 seed. It's one of the most athletic clubs in the country, thanks to its handful of future NBA players.
The Wildcats weren't supposed to reach their potential this postseason. Just about a month ago, it suffered back-to-back defeats to Arkansas and South Carolina, only to lose by 19 points to Florida a week later. However, after knocking off No. 1-seeded Wichita State and fourth-seeded Louisville before its latest miracle, Kentucky has reached its potential.
And it will be difficult for any college basketball team to beat a ballclub with at least five future NBA players who have hit their stride.
Kentucky by two
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.