The NCAA tournament is just two games away from the national title bout, and college basketball fans have certainly gotten their fill of upsets, buzzer-beaters and breakout performers over the past several weeks.
There are still three more games for even more memories and highlights to be made, and the Final Four is shaping up to be the most exciting round of competition thus far.
The storylines are nearly endless.
Florida is doing its best to live up to the No. 1 overall seed it earned. Connecticut is riding the strong showing of Shabazz Napier. Kentucky is finally living up to its preseason No. 1 ranking. Wisconsin, widely regarded as the worst No. 2 seed, has made its way to the Final Four despite the adversity.
Ready for an exciting round of play? Here's what you need to know to make sure you don't miss a single time the ball touches the hardwood.
|Final Four Schedule and Predictions|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Picks|
|Sat, April 5||(7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS||Florida|
|Sat, April 5||(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Wisconsin||8:49 p.m.||TBS||Kentucky|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Picks|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||N/A|
(7) UConn vs. (1) Florida
UConn took down Florida all the way back on Dec. 2, and Shabazz Napier was a force to be reckoned with in the Huskies' one-point win. He scored 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
That type of scoring line is what Napier has been doing in the tournament as well. With scoring totals of 24, 25, 19 and 25 in the tournament thus far, Napier has put himself in the discussion as one of the best players of March Madness.
Napier might be the best player in this Final Four matchup, but there's a reason why Florida is considered the best team in college basketball. The depth of the Gators far exceeds that of the Huskies.
Scottie Wilbekin is the team's top offensive threat, but Michael Frazier II and Patric Young are also viable options. Nobody will be able to go shot-for-shot with Napier, so it will have to be a complete team effort for Florida.
The Gators play a disciplined game under head coach Billy Donovan, which will work to their advantage. When Wilbekin and Frazier draw defenders on the perimeter, Young will earn his fair share of points in the paint. He's aggressive and will score against the UConn bigs.
This game will be close. Napier will certainly keep the Huskies in the game, but their secondary scorers like Niels Giffey and Ryan Boatright just won't be able to be as productive as Frazier and Young.
Florida will be moving on to the NCAA title game.
(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Wisconsin
Kentucky is on fire for what seems like the first time this season. That means trouble for Wisconsin.
The Badgers have gone on a nice run to make it to the Final Four. They've taken down American, Oregon, Baylor and Arizona to get to this point, and Frank Kaminsky has been stellar.
As a 7-footer with deep range from three, Kaminsky is a matchup nightmare for opposing head coaches. It's hard to contain such a shooter. He has a few inches on nearly every defender that tries to put a hand in his face, resulting in some pretty good looks from deep. He'll be crucial in keeping Wisconsin in the game.
The Wildcats have been great in the tournament. They took down Kansas State, Wichita State, Louisville and Michigan. Their road to the Final Four has been much more difficult than the Badgers', and they wouldn't have gotten there without this last-second three by Aaron Harrison:
Julius Randle, James Young and the rest of the young talent of the Wildcats should be ready to go. They were the preseason No. 1 team for a reason. At this point, their seeding for the tournament is really negligible. They're pretty much playing like a No. 1 seed.
If there's any team that can really compete against Florida right now, it's Kentucky. Once the Wildcats get past Wisconsin, they'll get the opportunity to prove it.
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