03 April 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament: Final Four Predictions

There you have it, America, the Final Four. What has been an NCAA Tournament that has been nothing short of awesome has now whittled down a field of 68 to a field of four as the dreams of cutting down the nets as national champions remain for Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Kentucky. They will play this Saturday evening for the right to play for all the marbles on Monday night in Arlington.

Who will those teams be? It is time for my 2014 Final Four predictions.

#1 Florida vs. #7 UConn - TBS/TNT/truTV, 6:09
These two teams have taken paths to Arlington that are so different that is only be natural that they would be playing. Florida, of course, is the sole one seed in the Final Four and they perhaps have had the smoothest path with only one game being decided by less than ten points. Meanwhile, the Huskies could very well have lost in their first game as they had to rally to get St. Joe's to overtime where they prevailed. Meanwhile their excellent backcourt has helped carry them on this run, with Shabazz Napier bringing back the memories of Kemba Walker's run en route to the 2011 title. Even with those comparisons, and they are striking, I think that ultimately Connecticut is in an uphill battle. Scottie Wilbekin has been awesome for the Gators and I think with how strong they are defensively, they can get by Cardiac Connecticut (which I just came up with) and advance to the championship game.
Pick: Florida

#2 Wisconsin vs. #8 Kentucky TBS/TNT/truTV, 8:49
 
Who has been the best player thus far in this tournament? I think Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky has a very good case. Kaminsky has blossomed from an unheralded big guy to a star and his inside-outside game has been just about unstoppable as teams have struggled to figure out how to slow him down, and his play has played a huge part in the Badgers getting to their first Final Four since 2000 and their first under Bo Ryan. That said, Kentucky has the bigs athletic enough to play Kaminsky out to the perimeter as well down low in Julius Randle, who has also been awesome this tournament, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee, who has broken out this tournament. I think the pure talent of the Wildcats and their ability to contain Kaminsky just enough will be enough for them to survive and advance.
Pick: Kentucky

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