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2014 NCAA Final Four Preview and Picks

The 2014 NCAA Final Four takes center stage tonight from Arlington, Texas and AT&T Stadium. One of the two games features the nation’s No. 1 team the Florida Gators versus one of their two nemeses this season the Connecticut Huskies.

Shabazz Napier and his fellow Connecticut teammates were the last team to defeat Florida this season. Napier hit a buzzer beater to defeat the Gators 65-64 on December 2.

Florida has not lost since that game reeling off 30 straight wins in the process. The Gators stifling, suffocating defense will look to shut Napier and the rest of his teammates down in tonight’s national semifinal.

Connecticut seeded No. 7 has played incredibly well on offense in reaching the Final Four. However, the Florida defense has improved since its loss to the Huskies early in the season and could shut down the offense of Connecticut.

The Gators are 32-6 on the season, while Connecticut is 30-8. The only other loss Florida suffered was against another one of the Final Four participants, the Wisconsin Badgers.

Florida’s defense led the SEC against scoring giving up just 57 points per game. The team enjoyed a scoring margin of nearly 13 points this season in SEC action.

During the current NCAA tournament, only one of their four opponents, UCLA, was able to shoot higher than 40% against the Gators defense.

The defense is also averaging more than 6.5 steals in the four games they have played in the tournament this season.

The current line has Florida favored by 6.5 points with the point total over/under sitting on 126.5.

Pick: Florida 62-59.

In the second game of the Final Four tonight, the Wisconsin Badgers the No. 2 seed meet the Kentucky Wildcats a No. 8 seed.

Wisconsin reached the Final Four after defeating No. 1 seeded Arizona in the West Regional final. The Badgers are led on offense by center Frank Kaminsky and guard Ben Brust.

The inside outside combination turned out to be too much for Arizona to stop. Kaminsky scored 28 points in the game to lead Wisconsin.

Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 selection by sportswriters after being declared the best recruiting class in NCAA basketball history.

However, it took the Wildcats team, led by its talented freshmen class nearly the entire season to gel. Their timing could not have been better.

Kentucky now looks to be one of the favorites to win the national title.

Julius Randle the Wildcats’ talented power forward has averaged 15 points and 11 boards in the tournament and has become an unstoppable force in the paint.Pick: Kentucky 73-71

It is all in the Numbers

2- the number of SEC teams in today’s Final Four

3- the number of SEC teams that made the NCAA Tournament field

4- the number of times both the men and women’s basketball teams from Connecticut have reached their respective Final Fours during the same season.

30 – the current winning streak by Florida entering tonight’s matchup.

73 – the number of years since Wisconsin has won it only national title.

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