With the first game set to tip-off in less than three hours, the Final Four is officially upon us. This is as good as it gets in college basketball (until Monday night) and the games are finally on at a reasonable hour, but tomorrow’s Sunday, so you’re sleeping in anyway.
Here’s a final preview of each of tonight’s national semifinal games.
#6 Connecticut Huskies vs. #1 Florida Gators (6:09 pm ET, TBS) — UConn comes in with a full head of steam after knocking off a Michigan State team that many expected to be carrying the torch for the East Region. The Gators haven’t lost a game since their setback in Storrs earlier this year, a loss that may have been avoided had Scottie Wilbekin‘s ankle been healthy enough to finish out the game. Florida may have a size advantage but the Huskies won’t back down. Head coach Kevin Ollie‘s team plays a physical brand of basketball and has yet to shy away from a challenge in this tournament. DeAndre Daniels will be key for the Huskies — he’ll need to once again provide a secondary scoring option to Shabazz Napier, as he’s done the past two games (39 points, 18 rebounds).
The Gators’ defense may prove too much but Napier gives the Huskies a fighter’s chance whenever they take the court.
The Pick: Florida 78, UConn 71
#8 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #2 Wisconsin Badgers (8:49 pm ET, TBS) — John Calipari‘s Wildcats might be young and dumb enough not to realize the magnitude of the stage they’ll be on tonight. That said, they’re 1.5-point favorites, and their starting lineup of freshman is only partly true as they’re no longer really freshman. For the Badgers, the man that’s helped them advance is Frank Kaminsky, unfortunately, Kentucky has players big and agile enough to stop him. Kaminsky has averaged 22 points per game on 58.7 percent shooting in the past three.
Kentucky’s offense has been almost unstoppable this tournament but they’ve yet to see a defense with the length and skill Wisconsin has.
The Pick: Wisconsin 74, Kentucky 64