Tomorrow night the national semifinals will be held at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, which is more commonly referred to as “JerryLand”. The two games that’ll take place at the 100,000-seat stadium will be Florida and Connecticut at 5:09 followed by Kentucky and Wisconsin at 7:49CDT. All four teams that remain have certainly earned the right to be there. Florida came into the tournament as the overall number one seed, while Kentucky boasts only the second all-freshman starting five since Michigan’s famed “Fab-5” in 1992. Connecticut seems to be the one surprise team to get this far, but with star player Shabazz Napier looking more and more like Kemba Walker from a few years ago, there’s no telling what this team is capable of. Wisconsin is a veteran-laden team that knocked off highly-touted Arizona in overtime to reach the final four.
As it stands, the late game is seen as the closer of the two contests with Kentucky currently favored by 1-. Florida is slated as a 6-point favorite in the later national semifinal. The star power runs with the favorites and perhaps the most dangerous team remaining is the lowest seed. Kentucky’s Julius Randle could find himself in a similar position as Anthony Davis did two years ago. Davis dominated and won the title, which paved the way to the top overall pick. Randle is the only player of the famed crop of freshman this year and has shown his tremendous strength and finesse around the mid-court area. Florida has the deepest team as led by Patric Young. Young’s been the big body for the Gators to complement his outside shooters. Young’s inside presence should see him playing at the next level even though he’s an undersized PF.
The wildcard of the tournament is Shabazz Napier, who is highly regarded in his senior season with the Huskies. Napier scored 25pts in the regional final over Michigan State while keeping down the Spartans’ Keith Appling who had just two points and two assists. If Napier can repeat the feat this Saturday against the Gators’ Scottie Wilbekin then the Huskies will certainly have a shot at advancing to Monday’s title game. Wilbekin makes the Gators tic and scored 23pts in the South final.
The Badgers are being totally overlooked and so are probably the biggest outside threat to win the title. Although Florida is favored to beat UConn, if the Huskies and Badgers were to meet on Monday, the Huskies would probably be favorited. Wisconsin has a lot of dynamic shooters on its team, but will need them to stay hot in order to advance. The matchup on the inside doesn’t favor them against Randle’s size and ferocity. Kaminsky is not the prototypical 7-footer and may have trouble with Randle; against Arizona Kaminsky had his best game of the tournament scoring 28 and hauling in 11 rebounds.
All in all it’s extremely tough to pick against the favorites this weekend. Florida has won an outrageous 30 in a row with their last loss coming against the Huskies. Expect the Gators to try and enact revenge in the sweetest possible way. As for the late game, Kentucky’s playing its best basketball of the year and appear to have started to click offensively and defensively. For my money, expect an all-SEC final which is becoming all too familiar in college sports.