The Final Four kicks off on Saturday night from the Bayou, where the Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats duke it out in a battle to determine whether the commonwealth will ultimately turn blue or red.
The Cardinals are the worst seed left in the NCAA Tournament, and but they were definitely a team that was one to be reckoned with here in this tourney. They were able to get through the West Bracket, beating a fantastic Michigan State Spartans team and the Florida Gators from well behind last weekend to reach this point. This is the second straight year that the team that won the Big East Tournament has made it here to the Final Four, and Head Coach Rick Pitino hopes that history repeats itself and he can cut down the nets in a few days in the Big Easy just like the Connecticut Huskies did last year. What really makes the ‘Ville go on a regular basis is its defense. This unit hasn’t always been the greatest in the world in terms of the scoreboard, but in the clutch, there isn’t a team that we would rather have trying to make the big time stop. Gorgui Dieng is going to be the man that has to get the job done for the Cards on the defensive end of the court, and when Louisville struggled against the Gators in the Elite 8, Dieng was off the court in foul trouble. When he is on the court, this is a team that is just very, very difficult to score on, especially in the paint.
The Wildcats are the most talented team in the country, and they are hoping to show it and give Head Coach John Calipari his first National Championship. If you look at this team, you just have so much talent that can get the job done. The bench doesn’t do a heck of a lot for Kentucky, but when you’ve got Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague, you really don’t need all that much coming off of your bench. Davis, one of the players named this week to the All-American team, has been an absolutely beast in this tournament, posting double-double after double-double. The key is going to be Teague in this one, though. He only had eight points against the Baylor Bears in the Final Four, but the key isn’t about how much he is scoring. The key is holding onto the basketball He has only committed a total of 11 turnovers in four games, and though that is a tad high for a man that has 21 assists, it is good enough to keep this team going.
The Final Word: We’ve already seen these two teams meet this year, and what we found out in that one, is that the two teams just aren’t all that close in terms of talent. It has been a great run to make it to this point for the West Region champs, but in the end, this is going to be just another big time scalp for the Cats on the way to their championship.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Kentucky Wildcats Free Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -8.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.