The second game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Tournament is a huge matchup between the West Region Champion Wisconsin Badgers and the Midwest Region Champion Kentucky Wildcats, on Saturday April 5@8:49 PM ET. Wisconsin defeated the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night, but Kentucky may be the hottest team in the tournament right now that had the toughest road to get where they are. No team had ever beaten three of the previous Final Four teams, let alone ousted both the defending champion and runner-up. Sportsbooks at Bovada have the Wildcats as -2 point favorites over the Badgers with the point total set at 138. The Wildcats’ opponent, Wisconsin, reached the Final Four for the first time under Coach Bo Ryan. Be sure to check all NCAA Point Spreads heading into the Final Four.
Kentucky (28-10, 7-3 N) entered the tournament with just one win all season against a team who received a No. 10 seed or better. Now, they are playing their best basketball of the season. The shooting isn’t always there, but who needs that when you’re plus-40 in total rebounds and averaging 13.8 offensive rebounds per game. After months of trying to finesse their way to victory, the Wildcats are finally embracing the advantage in sheer athleticism that they have against virtually any opponent.
Julius Randle has been outstanding in the tourney, recording a double-double in each of Kentucky’s first four games. He’s averaging 15.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 1.8 APG. Randle attempted 16 field goals against Michigan. It was a new career high for him, and it was the perfect game plan against Michigan’s below-average interior defense.
Aaron Harrison has been hot from three-point range, shooting 13-of-24, including the game-winning dagger with 2.6 seconds remaining against Michigan and the bucket that gave Kentucky the lead for good with 40 seconds remaining against Louisville.
Wisconsin (30-7, 8-1 N) turned into a one-man team in its Elite Eight clash with Arizona, and that man delivered the Badgers the 64-63 win and a trip to the Final Four. Wisconsin’s three-point attack was restricted to 6-17 shooting (35%), their second consecutive game of just six makes. The three-pointer is a valuable piece of the Badgers’ arsenal, and Bo Ryan must devise ways for the likes of Ben Brust and Josh Gasser to get open looks in support of Kaminsky.
In Frank Kaminsky’s last two games, he has been a one-man wrecking crew. Debunking the myth that Wisconsin has no interior defense, Kaminsky blocked six Baylor field-goal attempts in the Sweet 16. And against what was supposedly one of the best interior defenses in the nation, he scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to eliminate Arizona in the Elite Eight. In this tournament he’s averaging 18.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.8 BPG.
Seven-footers who can do it all at a high level don’t come around every year, but Kaminsky is putting this Wisconsin team on his broad shoulders. He is shooting 54.5 percent from the field in the tournament and finally rediscovered his three-point stroke against Arizona by hitting 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
Opposing teams have gotten the majority of their buckets against the Badgers from inside the three-point arc, scoring 59.7 percent of their points on two-point field goals—the fifth-highest rate in the country. This past weekend, however, against the efficient offenses of Arizona and Baylor, the Badgers held their opponents to a 38.6 percent shooting percentage from two-point range.
Recent Trends to Consider:
Under is 5-1 in Badgers last 6 vs. Southeastern.
Under is 4-1 in Badgers last 5 non-conference games.
Under is 4-1 in Badgers last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win.
Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Wildcats are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Badgers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games.
Badgers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Badgers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
Kentucky vs Wisconsin
When: Saturday April 5@8:49 PM ET
Pick: Kentucky -2
The Bottom Line: Kentucky will have the size and athleticism to subdue Kaminsky and corral the other Badgers in the perimeter. That should give the Harrisons enough leeway to work their twin magic and eke out another clutch win. We recommend you sign up with Bovada to receive a 10% sign up bonus heading into the Kentucky vs Wisconsin contest.