This year's Final Four is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory.
Florida and UConn will square off in a game that will be decided by shooters. Shabazz Napier and Scottie Wilbekin have led the charge for their respective teams in the tourney, but only one will move on to the NCAA title game.
In the other contest, Kentucky will do battle with Wisconsin. The Wildcats are the lowest seed remaining (No. 8), but they are finally playing like the team that was named the preseason No. 1. The Badgers, on the heels of Frank Kaminsky, have taken down stiff competition to make it this far.
Making predictions hasn't been easy for analysts and fans during this installment of the NCAA tournament, but here's my attempt at choosing which two teams will move on to play in the NCAA title game.
Predictions and Odds
|Final Four Schedule, Odds and Predictions|
|Date||National Semifinals||Time (ET)||TV||Odds||Predictions|
|Sat, April 5||(7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida||6:09 p.m.||TBS||Fla. -6.5||Florida|
|Sat, April 5||(8) Kentucky vs. (2) Wisconsin||8:49 p.m.||TBS||Ky. -2||Kentucky|
|Date||National Championship||Time (ET)||TV||Odds||Picks|
|Mon, April 7||National Championship - TBD||9:10 p.m.||CBS||N/A||N/A|
|NCAA.com and VegasInsider.com|
No. 7 UConn vs. No. 1 Florida
This game is going to come down to Napier versus Wilbekin. Get ready for a show, college basketball fans.
In a shot-for-shot battle, Napier probably has the upper hand. He has been stellar in the NCAA tourney, and many fans of the Huskies are comparing this team's run to the run the team made in 2009 with Kemba Walker.
Naturally, ESPN Stats & Info points to a stat that strengthens the comparison:
While Napier has the advantage over Wilbekin, the Gators have more talent overall. Patric Young, Michael Frazier II and Casey Prather are all accomplished scorers. Prather was actually the team's leading scorer during the offseason. Many have forgotten that fact as a result of Wilbekin's impressive run this March.
March Madness can often be decided by one player, but the Gators have too much talent to drop a game to a team with just one real scoring threat. Niels Giffey and Ryan Boatright, while good players, aren't threats to take over if Napier is off.
Should Wilbekin struggle, any one of the aforementioned Gators can take control of the offense. Because of this fact, it's hard not to like the Gators.
No. 8 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Wisconsin
Frank Kaminsky will use his large frame to knock down shots from all over the court for Wisconsin, but his exploits might not be enough to keep the Badgers rolling.
Kentucky has been simply fantastic during the tourney. The Wildcats were the preseason No. 1 for a reason, and they're finally showing why. The exciting group of freshmen has taken care of business for Kentucky thus far.
Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison twins (Andrew and Aaron) have led the way for Kentucky. The quartet has dominated its NCAA tourney competition and will look to continue to do so.
Kentucky simply has too much depth to be overmatched by a team led by one legit scorer (Kaminsky).
The Wildcats are making quite the run during March Madness, and the magic won't end here. You can expect a Florida-Kentucky matchup in the NCAA title game.