One of the best weekends of the year is here in a few days as the Final Four takes place in Indianapolis. Who’s going to be our national champion? Here are my predictions.
(1) Duke vs. (7) Michigan State: Duke ended up running away from Gonzaga in the Elite Eight, while the Spartans overcame Louisville in overtime. I’ve been picking against Michigan State for a while now and it seems like I end up being wrong every single time. They can shoot and play incredible defense, with those traits being responsible for their great March run so far. No one does it better at this time of year than Tom Izzo.
The only guy who arguably does it better in March is the guy on the other bench: Coach K. The Blue Devils are always dancing late in March and this time has been no exception. I like the way Duke is playing and I think they will win this one, although it should be close. Closer than the Gonzaga score for sure.
(1) Kentucky vs. (1)Wisconsin: For the first time all season, the Wildcats were behind for the majority of the game when they were matched up against Notre Dame in the Elite Eight. Nonetheless, they made their shots when it mattered and held off the huge upset. Meanwhile, the Badgers used a shooting barrage in the second half to down Arizona. Based on what we saw yesterday, is Kentucky, now 38-0, in danger of being sent home and not achieving perfection?
Kentucky has had close games before this season and it seems like they have served as a wakeup call every time they have occurred. The next few games normally aren’t close after the Wildcats have escaped disaster. That probably will not be the case when they play Wisconsin, who has been one of the best teams in the country all season long. Kentucky will need to grit their teeth and be ready to play another 40 minutes of physical basketball, for all the marbles this time.
We can’t expect another shooting display from Wisconsin like the one they executed in the Elite Eight. Those only come around once in a blue moon. They will have to rely on other means to score their baskets. That may require attacking the post, which has been a nightmare for Kentucky opponents all season long. And that is why I think the Wildcats, now fully aware of what they need to do in order to win it all, will win this game and be one step closer to yet another national title.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Matt Weingarten