NCAAB: Final Four Predictions
North Texas will play host to the Final Four starting this Saturday. There are some intriguing matchups among these four remaining teams with a lot to prove here in the last three games of the college basketball season.
1 Florida Gators- Florida had the easiest Elite Eight game of the remaining teams when they defeated the Cinderella Story of this year’s tournament in the Dayton Flyers. The Gators won the game 62-52 behind some stellar defensive play. Florida had made it to the Elite Eight the past three seasons, but lost each contest. Florida will be competing in the Final Four for the fifth time in school history.
2 Wisconsin Badgers- The Badgers come into the Final Four after defeating the University of Arizona Wildcats in a controversial 64-63 game. There was a questionable offensive foul called on Arizona with just over three seconds remaining. The Badgers proceeded to throw the ball away on the inbound pass, giving the ball back to the Wildcats. The Wildcats were unable to get a shot off in time after getting the ball back, sealing the victory for Wisconsin. Wisconsin will be making their third Final Four in school history.
7 UConn Huskies- Shabazz Napier has been carrying this UConn team throughout the tournament. Napier finished with 25 points to lead his team to a 60-54 victory over Michigan State. The Huskies trailed by nine points in the second half, but never lost focus on the end goal. UConn is the first 7-seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded in 1985. Saturday will mark UConn’s fifth Final Four appearance in school history.
8 Kentucky Wildcats- Kentucky was able to come away victorious in the Elite Eight by defeating Michigan 75-72. Aaron Harrison nailed a deep three-point shot with 2.2 seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats over Michigan. Marcus Lee had a fabulous surprise performance in the Elite Eight. Lee had only nine points since the beginning of January, but finished the game against the Wolverines with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Kentucky will be making their 16th Final Four in school history.
1 Florida Gators vs 7 UConn Huskies:
Florida comes into the game not only 6.5 point favorites over UConn, but winners of 30 consecutive games. The Huskies may be hot in the tournament, but the Gators have been hot since early December. Florida’s last loss was to UConn however when Napier hit a buzzer-beating jump shot to defeat the Gators. In the end, Florida’s stifling defense will prove to be too much and Napier won’t be able to do it all on his own.
Prediction: Florida 64 UConn 57
2 Wisconsin Badgers vs 8 Kentucky Wildcats:
So far Kentucky has defeated No. 1 Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan, and No. 4 Louisville who all came into the tournament as teams with great chances to go far. In my mind, those three teams all posed a bigger threat to Kentucky than Wisconsin. Wisconsin relies solely on big man Frank Kaminsky, but Kentucky’s big men will own the paint and shut him down. Kentucky will advance to the championship game on Monday.
Prediction: Kentucky 68 Wisconsin 63