Sunday, March 30th 5:05 PM EST on CBS

8 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 2 Michigan Wolverines

Game Line: Kentucky -2.5 Game Total: 136.5 (from JustBet)

The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Michigan Wolverines with a trip to the Final Four in North Texas on the line.

Kentucky Wildcats were the preseason #1 team in the nation, yet stumbles during the season had many voters question the teams maturity, and if they were ready for the spotlight. Well obviously the Wildcats have answered that question, was they’ve been on quite a run in this year’s tournament. Kentucky is coming off a 74-69 victory over 4-seed Louisville. Before that, they knocked off the undefeated Wichita State Shockers in one of the best games of the tournament. The run they have been on has been impressive, and shows great focus from John Calipari’s young squad. They are led by freshman sensation Julius Randle, who is averaging 15.1 and 10.7 rebounds per game this year and also leads the nation with 23 double-doubles. Andrew and Aaron Harrison, the twin freshman guards, have really stepped up as of late, together combining for 69 points in the past two games.

The Michigan Wolverines are trying to get back to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. They are coming off a tightly contested 73-71 victory of Tennessee. The Wolverines nearly blew a 15 point second half lead, but held on in the final seconds to preserve the victory. They are led by 6’6” sophomore guard Nik Stauskas, who is averaging 17.3 ppg. Jordan Morgan, the 6’8” senior forward has been a force in the tournament, averaging 13.3 points and 9 rebounds per game. The Wolverines are averaging 75 ppg this season, while shooting 48.1% from the field. They like to shoot from beyond the arc, as they are averaging 8.7 three-point shots per game and are extremely accurate, hitting 40.2% of those attempts.

A long time ago, 5 starting freshman made an unprecedented run to the Final Four, you might remember them, they were the ‘fab five’ of Michigan. Well, fast forward to 2014, and now we have another edition of 5 starting freshman that are literally growing up before our eyes in this tournament. They are playing beyond their years, playing with confidence and matching expectations that many had in the preseason. I would really like to take the points with the more experienced Michigan squad, but I’m not stepping in front of this Kentucky team. Michigan hasn’t been effective on the glass this season, with a rebounding margin of 0.5, while Kentucky has a rebounding margin of 9.8 this season. The Wildcats have been absolute monsters on the boards in this tournament, outrebounding their opponents by 9.6 per game. Michigan has a lot of good shooters on their team, but Kentucky has the size to give the Wolverines fits. We know that Michigan likes shoot the three, yet the Wildcats are good at defending the perimeter, limiting the opposition to 31.8% shooting from beyond the arc. The Wolverines are the higher seed, yet the Wildcats are the favorite in this contest. That alone speaks volumes of the respect that the oddsmakers are giving this Kentucky team. I’m backing the Wildcats on Sunday, as I see them advancing to North Texas.

 

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Free NCAABB pick: Kentucky -2.5 Over 136.5

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Game Prediction: Kentucky 76 Michigan 72

 

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