Final Four 2014: Updated Bracket, Last-Minute Odds, Picks and More

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Final Four 2014: Updated Bracket, Last-Minute Odds, Picks and More
Mark J. Terrill

The 2014 Final Four is just a few hours from tipping off, but it's not too late to get a last-minute wager in on the action.

Whether you are looking to place down a big bet at the sportsbook or just have a small pot amongst friends, it is always better to be on the winning side of a prediction.

Keep reading for a complete look at the Final Four schedule, plus check out the updated odds, my predictions on the winner of each game and much more.

Date National Semifinals Time (ET) TV Live Stream Prediction
Sat, April 5 (7) Connecticut vs. (1) Florida (-6.5) 6:09 p.m. TBS March Madness Live Florida
Sat, April 5 (8) Kentucky (-1.5) vs. (2) Wisconsin 8:49 p.m. TBS March Madness Live Wisconsin

ESPN, ScoresAndOdds

 

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Most Exciting Final Four Matchup: Kentucky vs. Wisconsin

While both of the 2014 NCAA tournament’s semifinal contests promise to be quite exhilarating, the battle between the Kentucky Wildcats and Wisconsin Badgers should be downright thrilling and a must-watch for fans who can only catch one game on Saturday evening.

The Wildcats are looking to continue their improbable push through March Madness, as the No. 8-seeded team navigated out of the immensely tough Midwest Region and now has a chance to make it to the national title game.

While there was no doubting that this group had the raw talent to make a run like this as UK was ranked No. 1 in the preseason, it had suffered through a myriad of chemistry issues, poor play and injury that contributed to earning a mediocre seed.

Kentucky’s core of freshman talent has grown up before our eyes, ripping off four straight wins against quality opponents. As per ESPN Stats & Info, the Wildcats have become the first team to start five freshmen and win an Elite Eight game since the “Fab 5” back in 1992:

The young players have banded together to knock off gritty Kansas State, previously undefeated Wichita State, last year’s champion Louisville and last year’s runner-up in Michigan to make it this far and will be immensely tough to oust.

Wisconsin will provide quite a challenge to Kentucky’s unblemished mark in the Big Dance, as the Badgers have been playing as well as anyone this time of year.

Junior center Frank Kaminsky has morphed into a superstar talent and is pacing his side to victories with big performances. He chipped in 28 points, on shots made from all over the court, in a thrilling 64-63 overtime win against Arizona in the Elite Eight.

Jae C. Hong

Kaminsky, who hit on three of his five three-point attempts, attempted to describe how UW has changed in 2013-14, per George Schroeder of USA Today: "This is known as a defensive program that slows ball down on offense. We wanted to put a little of our brand on it. ... I think it's showing with this run we've had in the tournament."

That brand is showing up in the stat sheet, as KenPom ranks the Badgers as the No. 4 most efficient offense is the entire country. While their defense generally leaves something to be desired, the team can return to its old ways with head coach Bo Ryan at the helm.

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That defensive tenacity reared its head at the right time against ‘Zona, when Wisconsin swarmed the ball on the last possession and did not allow Nick Johnson to get off a final shot that could have won the game.

If the Badgers are putting the ball through the bottom of the net at a decent clip and have a chance to win it in the final moments, there is a great chance that this hungry, motivated team will step up and lock down the Wildcats.

Expect a back-and-forth conflict, but ultimately Wisconsin pulls off the win and advances to the championship.

Prediction: Wisconsin (+2) over Kentucky, 69-66.

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