2014 National Semifinal

Saturday, April 5th, 2014 8:45 PM EST on TBS

8 Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Game Line: Kentucky -1.5 Game Total: 139 (from JustBet)

The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Wisconsin Badgers in the second national semifinal game on Saturday night, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Kentucky Wildcats come in to Saturday night’s off of a dramatic victory over Michigan. Aaron Harrison’s 3-point jumper with 2.6 seconds remaining propelled the Wildcats to this weekend’s Final Four. Kentucky is without a doubt hitting their stride at the right time, and are playing with the utmost confidence. With a starting 5 that are all freshman, they have without a doubt made the most of their opportunity knocking off an undefeated Wichita State team and beating a dynamic Louisville team. One could argue that Kentucky’s road has been the toughest. They are led by freshman sensation Julius Randle, who is averaging 15.0 and 10.5 rebounds per game this year and also leads the nation with 24 double-doubles. Kentucky is averaging 76.4 ppg while shooting 45.4% from the field. They are solid on the glass and are one of the best teams in the country on the boards, ranking 5th in the nation. Defensively the Wildcats are allowing 66.6 ppg while limiting their opponents to 41% shooting from the field.

The Wisconsin Badgers advanced to the Final Four by defeating the #1 seeded Arizona Wildcats 64-63 in overtime. 7-footer Frank Kaminsky has been outstanding in the tournament, averaging 18.5 ppg and averaging 6 rebounds per game. Kaminsky can not only score in the paint, but he can shoot the 3 as well. They are extremely efficient on the offensive end with a 1.53 assist to turnover ratio while shooting 45.9% from the field. They are a much disciplined team, and don’t take bad shots. They have plenty of shooters as well, in Ben Brust (12.8 ppg, 39.2 3PFG%) and Sam Dekker (12.4 ppg, 46% FG%). The Badgers are effective shooting the 3, hitting 37.5% of their attempts from beyond the arc, and don’t give the ball away, ranking 1st in the nation in turnovers per game. Defensively, they are allowing 63.7 ppg while limiting their opponents to 42.7% shooting.

I’m laying the short number with Kentucky on Saturday. This matchup reminds me a lot of when Wisconsin played Baylor. Kentucky has the same size, length, and athleticism as the Bears, but their somewhat of a better version. Both teams have a lot of momentum, but Kentucky’s run has been way to impressive, they’ve been clutch in key situations and have so much talent from top to bottom. I’ll point out in the win against Michigan, freshman Marcus Lee comes in and is a big contributor with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Lee averaged 6 minutes a game this season, yet in a crucial game he steps in and is a factor. This game will be highly competitive, but the size advantage for Kentucky in the paint will be the difference. The Wildcats have outrebounded their opponents by a ridiculous margin in the tournament, and I don’t think Wisconsin will match them there. The Wildcats are just too talented and too athletic, and are peaking at the right time when it matters most.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers Free NCAABB Pick: Kentucky -1.5 Over 139

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Wisconsin Badgers Game Prediction: Kentucky 73 Wisconsin 70


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