Game One: Florida vs. UCONN
Well, I had Florida advancing this far. Scottie Wilbekin has taken over this Florida team as the go-to guy. Throughout the tournament, he has averaged 16.75 points per game, while only turning the ball over twice. Patric Young has averaged 8.25 ppg while pulling down 6.75 boards per game. This Florida team is one to watch...
...but can it shut down Shabazz Napier? Napier, A.K.A. Kemba Walker 2.0, has the Huskies on a 2011-like run, where they defeated Butler to win the National Championship. UCONN consists of Shabazz Napier, Shabazz Napier, and Shabazz Napier (did I mention Shabazz Napier?) Napier has averaged an astounding 23.25 ppg throughout the NCAA tournament, with his game-low being 19 points against Iowa State. Napier has been the definition of clutch. He scored 41.67% of UCONN's points in their win over Michigan State in the Elite Eight. They also showed their defensive grit against Michigan State, holding them to only .968 points per possession while coming up with 16 takeaways.
With all of that in mind, I still think Florida comes out on top. Although I believe Shabazz Napier will get his and score around 25 points, I think Florida will do an excellent job of shutting down the other UCONN players such as DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright. I think that the Huskies will have trouble defensively guarding the inside, where I think that Casey Prather and Patric Young will have a field day. I think that they will then be able to kick it out to Wilbekin and make some needed threes. I think Florida will not turn the ball over more than nine times as they roll on to the National Championship Game.
Prediction: Florida: 75, UCONN: 64
Now, let's look at game two between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Game Two: Wisconsin vs. Kentucky
Wisconsin most likely has the best player in terms of a mismatch in Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky has everything you could possibly dream of in a big man. He can shoot from the post, thanks to his excellent footwork, but he can also stem back and sink the three. As of now, Kaminsky is shooting an astounding 61.9% from two-point range and 30.8% from three, which is fantastic for someone who starts at the five. On top of Kaminsky, Wisconsin still keeps the tradition of taking care of the ball. Their back court is led three point guards in Traevon Jackson, Ben Brust, and Josh Gasser. Throughout the tournament, Wisconsin as a team commits only 8.25 turnovers per game, with their game high only being 10 against Baylor.
But the question is, do they have the athleticism to keep up with Kentucky? Kentucky in the tournament has played like the Kentucky team we expected to see throughout the entire season. Julius Randle has become a man among boys on the court, averaging 15.75 ppg while pulling down 12 rebounds per game. Randle is also shooting 52.3% from two-point range. Outside of Randle, Kentucky's back court of Andrew and Aaron Harrison has been lights out, with Aaron Harrison knocking down the game-winning three with 2.3 seconds left against Michigan in the Elite Eight to reach the Final Four (it was a tough week for the entire state of Michigan). Aaron Harrison has only committed seven turnovers throughout the tournament, and Andrew Harrison has averaged 12.25 ppg. Kentucky will be a tough out to anybody.
So, will we see an all-SEC final? I think no, and I have a feeling that this game will not be a very close game, either. I think that Wisconsin is going to lead the charge behind Kaminsky. Kentucky will be unable to get out in transition thanks to the ball-handling of the Wisconsin guards. I think Kaminsky is a mismatch on both Alex Poythress and Randle. he is going to be able to use his height advantage to shoot easy post shots. I think this sets up Brust, Gasser, and Sam Dekker on the outside. This Kentucky defense is nowhere near as good as Arizona's defense was, and Wisconsin was still able to put up more than 1 (albeit 1.01) points per possession. At the end of Saturday night, I think we will see a Florida/Wisconsin Final.
Prediction: Wisconsin: 74, Kentucky 58
This sets up a Florida vs. Wisconsin final. These two teams met up on November 12th at the Kohl Center, where the Badgers won 59-53.
National Championship Game: Florida vs. Wisconsin
There isn't much more I can say about these two teams in terms of background, so let's get into who I think wins this game.
Will Wisconsin take the second game from Florida as well? I think it's not going to happen. When Wisconsin defeated Florida at the Kohl Center, it had two things going for them.
1. They were playing at home. However, the kicker is
2. They played Florida when Florida did not have Scottie Wilbekin
I think with Wilbekin on the floor, Florida is a different offensive juggernaut. They are still a good defensive team, but they add a much bigger weapon on the offensive side of the ball. I think this weapon will end up being the end of the Badgers. I still am not a believer in the Badgers defense and I think Florida will be able to expose the defense of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin will not be able to outscore the Gators. The Gators cut the nets down in Arlington, giving Billy Donovan his third national championship.
Prediction: Florida: 73, Wisconsin: 67
We'll see whether any of these predictions come to fruition. I thank you all for taking the time to read my blog and don't be afraid to leave comments below about what I have said above. I love to talk sports with other people and would love other people's insight on the blog, whether they agree or disagree with me.