Wisconsin vs. Kentucky: Predictions and Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects to Watch

David DanielsSenior Writer IMarch 30, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30:  Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 75 to 72 in the midwest regional final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Wisconsin vs. Kentucky is the most loaded of the two Final Four matchups with 2014 NBA draft prospects.

This isn't necessarily due to the combination of teams. The Wildcats just have way more pro prospects than every other remaining club.

Here are those top prospects and a prediction on how they'll impact the outcome of the showdown.


Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects

6. G Andrew Harrison, Kentucky

Steve Helber

Harrison, ESPN's No. 5-rated prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, is inconsistent. His season stat line is underwhelming: 11.1 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 turnovers per game while shooting 37.6 percent from the field. However, he was instrumental in two of the Wildcats' four NCAA tournament victories.

He exploded for 20 points against No. 1-seeded Wichita State and finished with 14 points and seven assists facing fourth-seeded Louisville. Harrison is raw and would benefit from another year in school, but he could sneak into the first round with his athleticism and 6'6", 215-pound frame.


5. G Aaron Harrison, Kentucky

The other Harrison, ESPN's No. 9-rated prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, is less consistent. He's shot a more acceptable 42.3 percent from the field this season to score 14.1 points per game.

Since the Big Dance began, Harrison has upped his scoring to 16.0 points per game. His three-point shooting percentage has also risen from 34.6 percent to 54.1 percent. This was one of the mid-to-late first-round prospect's 13 three-pointers in the NCAA tournament.


4. F Sam Dekker, Wisconsin

Unlike everyone else on this list, Dekker is a sophomore. And even though ESPN rated him as its No. 17 prospect in the 2012 recruiting class, that's still not nearly as high as four out of the five Wildcats were ranked.

This hasn't stopped Dekker from averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game on a team that won more games than Kentucky this season. He, like Aaron Harrison, is a mid-to-late first-round prospect. But as the lone Badger on this list, Dekker has more potential than any Wildcat to improve his stock this April.


3. F James Young, Kentucky

Unlike the Harrison twins, this Wildcat on the perimeter hasn't improved this postseason. ESPN's No. 8 prospect in the 2013 recruiting class is averaging 14.1 points per game this season. Twice in four NCAA tournament games he's failed to reach double figures in scoring.

Granted, he just finished his best performance of the postseason against Michigan, nailing 5-of-7 from the field including 3-of-4 from downtown for 13 points. Kentucky needs more of this from the mid-first-round prospect to keep winning.


2. C Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

Cauley-Stein isn't quite Anthony Davis or Nerlens Noel, but ESPN's No. 40-rated 2012 prospect has been the anchor of the Wildcats defense this season. The most experienced player in its starting lineup, the sophomore leads the team with 2.9 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He also pitches in 6.1 rebounds and 6.8 points per game, shooting an efficient 59.6 percent from the field.

He's missed all but four minutes of the past two games with an ankle injury, though, so the streaking Wildcats would become even stronger upon his return. Cauley-Stein made his presence felt against Kansas State and Wichita State, racking up five blocks and six steals.


1. F Julius Randle, Kentucky

Randle, ESPN's No. 3-rated prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, lived up to the hype more than any other Wildcat on this list. He leads Kentucky in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.1 points and 10.7 boards per game.

He's continued to attack the basket and the glass in the Big Dance. As a result, Randle has cemented himself in the double-double record books, according to ESPN Stats & Info and Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy.

If he isn't already, Randle would also cement himself as a top-five draft pick if he leads Kentucky to a title.



David J. Phillip

As young as Kentucky is, it's actually deeper than Wisconsin. The Wildcats' rotation includes seven players who average at least 5.0 points per game compared to six Badgers' in Wisconsin's rotation.

Given that Kentucky is deeper and more talented (see above list), Wisconsin would greatly benefit from a coaching edge, but it lacks that as well. The Wildcats' John Calipari is an NCAA champion and has now led the school to three Final Four appearances. The Badgers' Bo Ryan had never previously led them out of the Elite Eight.

Inconsistent Kentucky has peaked at exactly the right time, which will be to Wisconsin's dismay.

Kentucky by two


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