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Free Final Four Predictions – Cardinals, Jayhawks, Buckeyes, Wildcats

Handicapping The 2012 Final Four

It is one of the most exciting weekends of the year as a sports fan. The Final Four gets going Saturday evening in New Orleans. This year’s Final Four is loaded with powerhouse teams. All of them are capable of cutting down the nets.  

It’s nice to have a Cinderella story early in the tournament, but top teams getting to the Final Four generally makes for some great matchups. Here is how I expect the weekend in New Orleans to go.

Louisville vs. Kentucky NCAA Basketball Betting Odds from Bookmaker

NCAA Basketball Point Spread: Kentucky -8.5
Over/Under: 136.5
Matchup | Preview

The first semifinal is a battle of the Bluegrass State. These two teams play every year, and there is no love between these schools. Rick Pitino previously coached at Kentucky, and he would love nothing more than to slay the giant this year. Kentucky has been dominating everyone through this NCAA Tournament.

Louisville outscored Florida 18-3 in the final minutes of their Elite Eight matchup. Rick Pitino’s team is doing whatever it takes to win. They are attempting to follow in the footsteps of last year’s surprising winner UConn. Freshman Chane Behanan has scored in double figures in every NCAA Tournament game, and he is becoming a polished low post player. Louisville has gotten to this point with their terrific defense. Gorgui Dieng averages 3.2 blocks per game, and he anchors a defense that allows opponents to shoot just 38% from the floor.

Kentucky is led by Player of the Year favorite Anthony Davis. Davis leads the team in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, blocks, and steals. Davis is the best shot blocker in the nation, and he has 174 blocks this year. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been the offensive star the last couple games. This Wildcats team is loaded with stars, and anyone can step up on any given game. The Wildats have the best field goal percentage defense of any team in the nation. Opponents shoot only 37.5% from the floor against Kentucky.

I think Kentucky moves on in a game that is closer than most expect. Score Prediction: Kentucky 69 Louisville 64

Ohio State vs. Kansas NCAA Basketball Betting Odds from Bookmaker

NCAA Basketball Point Spread: Ohio State -2.5
Over/Under: 137
Matchup | Preview

The second semifinal pits the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Kansas Jayhawks. Ohio State is playing their best basketball of the season after having an up and down regular season. Kansas has outperformed expectations this year.

The Buckeyes beat Cincinnati and Syracuse last weekend thanks to balanced offense and terrific leadership. Aaron Craft is the best on-the-ball defender in the nation, and his hustle and effort is amazing. Jared Sullinger is the team’s leading scorer, and he had two great games last weekend. Deshaun Thomas leads the Buckeyes in scoring over the course of the NCAA Tournament. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is an unheralded star who does all the little things for this team. Ohio State has several guys who are capable of carrying their team. This an extremely talented team that seems to have put it together of late.

Kansas is led by Thomas Robinson, who is another candidate for Player of the Year. Robinson has been superb all season. He has scored in double figures every game except one this year, and he has grabbed at least nine rebounds in every game this season. Tyshawn Taylor is a senior leader at point guard. Taylor averages 16.6 points per game and shoots 40% from beyond the arc. He’ll need to take care of the basketball in this one if the Jayhawks are going to win. Jeff Withey is a great shot blocker, and he’ll likely be guarding Sullinger most of the time. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Bill Self has done a great job with the Jayhawks, but I think the Buckeyes are the better team. Ohio State has more options on offense, and I think they have the edge in the backcourt. Score Prediction: Ohio State 74 Kansas 68

Ohio State vs. Kentucky National Championship Preview

NCAA Basketball Spread: Kentucky -4.5 at BetOnline

BetOnline has odds up for every potential NCAA Championship game. The Wildcats are 4.5 point favorites in this potential title tilt. If these teams do meet, it would be a battle of two teams loaded with future NBA stars.

Ohio State would have to get a big contribution from the backcourt in this game. William Buford has been in a shooting slump, but he is capable of putting up 25 or 30 points. Kentucky will make the Buckeyes beat them from the outside. Aaron Craft will have to find a way to break down the Kentucky defense and get inside the paint. The Buckeyes can’t afford to have Jared Sullinger get in foul trouble in this one. If Ohio State is going to win this matchup, they will have to win the turnover battle as well as the battle on the boards.

Kentucky looks like an All-Star team with their tremendous talent all over the court. The Wildcats are very good on offense, but it is their defense that has gotten them this far. Anthony Davis could be a very tough matchup for Sullinger, and Kidd-Gilchrist would need to shut down Deshaun Thomas. The Buckeyes will likely try to make Kentucky win this one from the outside as well. Terrence Jones could be the X-Factor in this game. Darius Miller is often overlooked because of the talent around him, but he is a tremendous all-around talent.

If Kentucky plays like they have through their first four games of the tournament, it is tough to see anyone beating them. I expect the Buckeyes to give them a great game, but in the end I think this Kentucky team will come out on top. Score Prediction: Kentucky 70 Ohio State 66



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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.