Four teams, two mouth-watering games. This is going to be so much fun. After four exhilarating knockout rounds, it’s Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke and Michigan State who move on to the Final Four at Indianapolis on April 4.
With Kentucky’s close call against Notre Dame, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will grab the national championship this season. Who will emerge victorious in this wild and crazy tournament? Read on below for our complete Final Four picks and predictions and while you’re at it, you can check out the experts’ picks for this season’s Final Four.[sc:MarchMadness ]
2015 March Madness Complete Final Four Picks and Predictions
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 1 Wisconsin
Line: Kentucky Wildcats (-5) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (+5); total: 131.0 – view all March Madness lines
Kentucky’s perfect season is still alive but only just after edging past Notre Dame, 68-66, in a thrilling Elite Eight showdown on Saturday night. Andrew Harrison scored the game-winning free throws for the Wildcats who are two wins away from becoming college basketball’s first undefeated champion in 39 years.
[sc:NCAAB240banner ]Notre Dame gave Kentucky all it can handle in this game which featured 20 lead changes and 12 ties. The Irish had a chance to win it at the end but Jerian Grant’s last-gasp three-point attempt fell harmlessly short. The Wildcats displayed tremendous composure in the face of a spirited Irish upset bid, going a perfect 9-of-9 from the field in the final 12 minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns was a beast for the Wildcats, scoring 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting against the Irish. He’ll have a battle in his hands, however, in the Final Four as he’ll go toe-to-toe with Wisconsin’s vaunted frontcourt.
Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker starred for the Badgers on Saturday, putting up 29 and 27 points respectively, to lead Wisconsin to a tough 85-78 Elite Eight win over Arizona. The duo shot the lights out from the field, combining for 17-of-31 from the floor. They also grabbed a total of 11 boards.
Even though Kentucky has not lost in its last 38 games, Wisconsin can take heart in the fact that Notre Dame’s offense was able to give them fits. The Badgers are the best team in the nation today in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 127.5 points per 100 possessions.
They displayed that deadly efficiency in the second half of their game against Arizona, averaging 1.67 points per possession. That’s the second-most efficient half in the NCAA Tournament this season, next only to the 1.68 set by you guess it right, Wisconsin, in the round of 64 against Coastal Carolina.
With that said, Wisconsin’s offense will be extremely tested by Kentucky’s smothering defense. The Wildcats are third in scoring defense, allowing just 53.9 points per game this season. They are also allowing just 85.6 points per 100 possessions, the best mark in the entire nation.
You can read a complete preview of this game here.
Writer’s Prediction: Wisconsin puts an end to Kentucky’s perfect season with a 75-71 win.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 7 Michigan State
Line: Duke Blue Devils (-5) vs. Michigan State Spartans (+5) – view all March Madness lines
Duke barged into the Final Four for the first time since 2010 with a convincing 66-52 win over Gonzaga on Sunday night. The Blue Devils have now made a total of 16 Final Fours, tied for fourth-most in NCAA Tournament history.
It was a satisfying night, particularly for head coach Mike Krzyzewski who tied John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances by any coach (12). He wouldn’t have done it, though, without the help of his squad which is the youngest team he has ever handled.
Freshmen Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor stepped up big time for the Blue Devils, combining for 40 of Duke’s 66 points. They also combined for 16 boards and eight dimes. With that being said, Duke needs Okafor to be more aggressive on the offensive end.
Surprisingly, Okafor was the only starter who didn’t score in double-figures for Duke in this game. He only scored nine points on 4-of-10 shooting. That’s the second consecutive sub-par performance for Okafor who only scored six points in Duke’s previous game against Utah.
That’s pretty uncharacteristic of Okafor who led the Blue Devils in scoring this season with 17.7 PPG. He will need to return to his old dominant self for Duke to avoid being the next victim of upset-hungry Michigan State. Against all odds, the Spartans crashed the Final Four for the seventh time under head coach Tom Izzo, with a nerve-wracking 76-70 win over Louisville on Sunday night.
Veteran Travis Trice powered the Spartans’ latest upset win, putting up 17 points, five rebounds and five assists in a sterling all-around performance. Much of the credit should go to Tom Izzo, who once again masterminded another late tournament run for Michigan State. Izzo is now 13-9 (.591) in NCAA Tournament games where his side is the lower-seeded team, the best winning percentage in tournament history.
He has a grand opportunity to improve that incredible record even further with a win over top-seeded Duke in the Final Four this coming Saturday. For the Spartans to pull off another upset, they will need to push the pace once again just like they did against the Cardinals.
Michigan State scored 23 transition points in that contest, more than Louisville has allowed in its first three tournament games (22). The Spartans entered the game averaging 16.3 transition points per game, fourth-most in the Big Ten conference.
Click here for an in-depth breakdown of this game.
Writer’s Prediction: Duke storms into the NCAA championship game with a 73-66 win.
The Final Four is finally here! Create a betting account now and cash in on the March Madness.[sc:NCAAB490Banner ]
1,648 total views, 1 views today