B/R Expert NCAA Bracket Picks 2014: Predicting Who Wins the National Title Game

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2014

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And so it all comes down to this.

The cats vs. the dogs for the whole kit and caboodle.

Since 1996, Connecticut and Kentucky are the only teams to have won three national championships. On Monday night, one will be winning its fourth.

For one final time, the Bleacher Report experts reconvened to make their predictions. If you've done nothing but bet against our picks, we sincerely hope you're enjoying reading this from your brand new yacht.

Good news for Connecticut: We're all picking Kentucky.


Connecticut vs. Kentucky

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 05: Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies gestures during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal against the Florida Gators at AT&T Stadium on April 5, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When: Monday, 9:10 p.m. ET

Watch: CBS


Jason King

I'll give Connecticut credit. I picked the Huskies to lose against Iowa State, Michigan State and Florida, and they made me look like a fool every time. Kevin Ollie is one of the game's great young coaches. I'll never doubt him again.

Unless he's playing Kentucky.

I simply don't see how the Huskies are going to match up with the Wildcats. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright form one of the country's top backcourts, but they'll have problems with the size and length of Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and James Young.

Connecticut's frontcourt was supposed to be its weakness, but the Huskies' big men fared well against the Spartans and Gators, both of whom have excellent personnel down low. Connecticut, though, hasn't seen anything like what it will face against Julius Randle and co. from Kentucky.

I expect the 2013-14 season to end the same way it began: with the Kentucky Wildcats on top.


David J. Phillip

Kerry Miller

As has been the case for this entire tournament, this game will be decided by Kentucky's ability to get offensive rebounds.

The Wildcats have averaged 13.2 offensive rebounds per game in the tournament. Their opponents have only averaged 17.4 defensive rebounds per tournament game.

For sake of comparison, Connecticut is only averaging 7.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Huskies have out-rebounded their opponents by a 159-158 margin. The Wildcats are plus-45 on the glass in the tournament.

It's not even fair.

Between Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, Connecticut's backcourt is one of the best in the country. As Billy Donovan told reporters after Florida's loss to Connecticut in the Final Four, "Once they got their defense set, I thought we had a hard time dealing with their pressure up top."

And we all know Napier is a dynamite scorer. 

But with Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee tapping into their potential, and Julius Randle and Alex Poythress playing as dominant as ever, Kentucky might just have the best frontcourt of the past decade.

With apologies to Big Blue nation, I'm picking Kentucky to win for the first time since the round of 64.


C.J. Moore

This is going to sound familiar, so bear with me.

Kentucky has more size, strength and talent in the interior than Connecticut. The same things were being written before the Michigan State game and even the Florida game, and we know how those played out.

But Julius Randle is another kind of beast, and the Wildcats just keep throwing these active bodies who live up near the top of the square of the backboard.

Connecticut has been great. The Huskies have an advantage in the backcourt. But at some point in every UK game so far, John Calipari's guys have bullied the opponent. It's overwhelming.

The Huskies have shown they know how to take a punch, but no one can pack the power behind that blow like the 'Cats.