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#8 Kentucky Favored to Beat #2 Wisconsin in Final Four

#2 Wisconsin Badgers vs. #8 Kentucky Wildcats Preview

Start Time: Saturday, April 5th 2014 at 8:45pm ET
Location: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Station: Watch on TBS

The Kentucky Wildcats were in the dreaded Midwest Region, but emerged with as champions of the region. The Wildcats had a very tough path to the Final Four, as they had to beat Kansas State (56-49), Wichita State (78-76), Louisville (74-69) and Michigan (75-72).

This is a young Kentucky team, but they have shown great strength late in games. The Wisconsin Badgers won the West Region after beating American U (75-35), Oregon (85-77), Baylor (69-52) and Arizona (64-63). I expect this to be close for the full 40 minutes.

Badgers vs. Wildcats Final Four Betting Lines

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Roughly 60% of the action is on the Wildcats up to now, but that’s actually closer than I thought it would be due to the public being in love with Kentucky. The total has moved up a ½ point from the opening line despite over 70% of the action being on the over.

UK @ WIS Stats at a Glance

Wisconsin plays slightly better defense than the Wildcats, but Kentucky should be able to get up on the boards where they’re going to have a huge advantage. In a closely fought game it’s going to be tough for Wisconsin to win if Kentucky has a big rebound edge.

How Kentucky Can Win the Game

Kentucky has to clean up the offensive glass. This season they averaged 13.1 ORPG (5th) and they ranked 1st in offensive rebounding percentage (42%). Wisconsin isn’t a bad rebounding team, but they’ll need to send out a big line-up to keep Kentucky off the glass.

They also need to continue shooting the 3-point ball well or else they could struggle. During the tournament Kentucky is shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc (23/58). Aaron Harrison (13 of 24) and James Young (6 of 14) have been shooting the deep ball well.

If they want to win they have to protect the basketball better and play smarter. Kentucky already has 49 turnovers in 4 games and if they throw away possessions against Wisconsin it’ll cost them, as Wisconsin plays some of the best half court defense in the nation.

How Wisconsin Can Win the Game

Wisconsin has to move the basketball quickly on rebounds and turnovers to score transition buckets. That’ll make them rely less on the 3-point shot, which will make or break their hopes to move on. The Badgers average 7.8 made attempts from deep per game.

Kentucky defends the 3-ball well, so the Badgers will have to make sure they don’t force up a bunch of shots early. That shouldn’t be a problem though, as Wisconsin ranks 7th in offensive efficiency. If they’re hitting a ton of 3’s this one may not even be that close.

The 7-foot F Frank Kaminsky will have to bring down all of the defensive boards he can handle. Another important aspect is keeping UK off the FT line. Kentucky gets to the line a lot (28.9 FTA PG), but Wisconsin has held opponents to 15.1 FTA PG (2nd).

Wisconsin vs. Kentucky Best Bet

I’m going with Wisconsin in this game despite the edge in rebounding that Kentucky will likely have. Wisconsin can nail the deep ball at a higher clip than the Wildcats. I also like the fact that the Badgers limit fouls and turnovers, which is important in big games.

Wisconsin has played some hot teams already and it hasn’t been a problem. Kentucky has a lot of talent, but hardly any depth, so if they get into foul troubles that’ll be a big deal. Wisconsin’s ability to space out the floor and hit shots will be too much for UK.

The over/under is fairly high, so despite leaning to the over I’m going to pass and strictly bet on Wisconsin. If Wisconsin hits a lot of shots it’ll force UK to jack up a lot of shots also, which is why I think we’ll see this game go over the total, but it’ll be close.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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