2015 Final Four Preview and Picks
The 2015 Final Four tips off on Saturday night, as college basketball fans will be graced with two intense matchups to decide who will meet for the nation’s title game.
Wisconsin Badgers (1) VS. Kentucky Wildcats (1)
On one side we get the Kentucky Wildcats against the Wisconsin Badgers in a rematch of last year’s Final Four clash. That game came down to the wire with these two squads going back and forth, ending with a missed Wisconsin jumper that would have won the game.
The Badgers, led by head coach Bo Ryan, are one of the most efficient and balanced teams in the league and they’ll naturally be out for blood after Kentucky got by them in 2014. Kentucky won’t want to lose, either, of course, as they’re undefeated at 38-0 and with two more wins could end the year at a perfect 40-0, making history.
While most should expect Kentucky to dispatch the Badgers in some shape or form, just like they have with the other 38 teams that have tried to take them down this year, there is reason to believe the Badgers are the team to finally hand them a loss.
Wisconsin knows Kentucky based off of last year, while their inside/outside offensive balance, timely outside shooting and solid defense make them a real threat. Wisconsin will need to execute perfectly from top to bottom, but after seeing Notre Dame take the Wildcats to the brink, they should have the confidence in knowing it can be done.
A Badgers win would be great for college basketball and it’ll be a fun bet to chase, but it’s still not likely. Ultimately, the safest bet of this year’s Final Four is on Kentucky moving on.
Pick: Kentucky 87, Wisconsin 84
Michigan State Spartans (7) VS. Duke Blue Devils (1)
Duke is the third of four top seeds to make it to the Final Four, which is oddly a rare accomplishment during March Madness. Coach K leads a very potent offense backed by future lottery picks, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow.
While Duke has the offense and the star power, there is something intangible about Tom Izzo’s Spartans. They seem to rally around being an underdog, while they’re one of the most athletic and aggressive teams in the country. Their offense isn’t the best but they can scratch and claw to stay in games, while their nasty defense can slow down the opposition.
Many will have the Spartans pegged as the Cinderella that moves on and possibly even wins the title, but there’s something about a Duke/Kentucky matchup that seems like destiny.
Michigan State has the tools to slow down Duke and win a close game, but if the Blue Devils execute their offense it’s more likely the Spartans simply won’t be able to keep up.
Pick: Duke 79, Michigan State 72
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