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2014 Final Four Preview: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Kentucky Wildcats
By Reel Robinson

The NCAA tournament is coming to a close in a few days and someone will be lifting the National Title high above their heads on Monday night, closing a great year of basketball. But before we can get that far ahead of ourselves there are a few Final Four games that will need to take place on Saturday to set the table. The second game I want to look at is the matchup between Wisconsin and Kentucky. While Kentucky is a familiar face in the Final Four, Wisconsin hasn't been to the big dance since 2000, so they may be the hungriest team left in the field looking to do something unprecedented for their program. On the other hand, experience in these big games means nothing to an all freshmen starting lineup that Kentucky puts on the floor. They have played like veterans in this tournament, already beating three experienced squads to get to where they are at, so Wisconsin can't bank on experience to win this game. I want to talk about what they can do that those other three teams couldn't. First, I will explain why Kentucky has had success against seemingly better opponents so far.

Kentucky has played efficient basketball by attacking the rim making it difficult for smaller teams to handle their bulk on the inside, relying on strong help defense and out-rebounding their opponents forcefully in the first four games of the tournament. They have some of the most athletic players in the country with Julius Randle as the head of the monster. He has been a walking double-double all tournament long, and if Wisconsin cannot find a way to slow him down, their athletes will return to Wisconsin empty handed. Wisconsin is representing the Big Ten and Kentucky took down the best team from it in Michigan last week, though Wisconsin handled Big Blue just as well during the season making this game wide open. There are major differences between Michigan and Wisconsin that'll play a big part in any of the Badgers success against the Wildcats. While the Wolverines rely on perimeter play, the Badgers have an ability to stretch the floor when necessary with knock down shooters as well as the luxury to throw it down low to their big stud Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky has been one of the best players of the tournament thus far and I expect another big game from him in this one.

Wisconsin will have to figure out a way to deal with the imposing size of the Kentucky front court. Since the Badgers seem to have three-point threats at all five positions, it'll open up the floor for penetration by athletic swing man Sam Dekker. The Badgers have prided themselves on constant ball movement and making the best out of their possessions. I wonder if the overzealous freshmen from Kentucky can stay discipline as the ball zips around the court. Michigan and Wichita State shot the ball extremely well against the Kentucky defenders and I do not see Wisconsin having a problem in that area either, but if they can't slow down their talented foe on fast breaks, they will not have a chance. I think a close game favors Wisconsin because Kentucky has a tendency to miss free throws and turn the ball over, which is something Coach John Calipari has spent this week of preparation harping about in practice.Bo Ryan

The Harrison twins for the Wildcats have been playing great poise basketball as of late. If they can continue that on the grandest scale in Texas, they will be in position of hoisting up that National Title No. 2 for Calipari. Coach Bo Ryan of Wisconsin wants his taste of the national championship game. I have no doubt in my mind that Wisconsin will be ready to play at a high level, as they did just come off a big win over one of the favorites Arizona in the Elite Eight. I have looked at both teams closely because I didn't have either one making it this far in the tournament, so my decision on who will win is strictly off the eye test. I'm concluding with a 68-62 victory by the Wisconsin Badgers, sending Bo Ryan and his squad to the National Title game to face UConn. 

Who do you have winning this game? Let me know with a comment.

4/5 Wisconsin vs. Kentucky 8:49pm EST

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