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Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot by Dalton Knecht of the Tennessee Volunteers during the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. We're backing Edey in our men's Final Four expert picks.
Zach Edey of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot by Dalton Knecht of the Tennessee Volunteers during the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images via AFP.

We've assembled our Final Four expert picks, based on the top Final Four odds from our best March Madness betting sites with the NCAA Tournament's fifth round tipping off Saturday.

The Final Four gets started with the NC State Wolfpack (26-14) facing off against the Purdue Boilermakers (33-4) in a semifinal clash set to tip off at 6:09 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday.

Following the opening game, the Alabama Crimson Tide (25-11) will square off against the UConn Huskies (35-3), the March Madness odds favorite, at 8:49 p.m. ET, on TBS.

As anticipation builds for these matchups, our experts are delving deep into the games, offering their top picks for each semifinal. Utilizing the latest March Madness odds from our best sports betting sites, they're ready to unveil their top predictions for the Final Four.

Don't forget to check out our NC State vs. Purdue prediction and Alabama vs. UConn prediction.

Men’s Final Four expert picks

Picks made by C Jackson Cowart and Rob Paul; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale.

NC State vs. PurdueSaturday at 6:09 p.m. ETD. Burns Under 14.5 points (+100 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐Z. Edey Over 40.5 points+rebounds (-113 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Alabama vs. UConnSaturday at 8:49 p.m. ETAlabama Under 74.5 points (-115 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐D. Clingan Over 15.5 points (-104 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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NC State vs. Purdue

Purdue hasn't really been pushed during the NCAA Tournament, winning by an average margin of 21.2 through the first four rounds. Even in the Boilermakers' toughest test, a six-point win over No. 2 seed Tennessee, big man Zach Edey was a dominant force. The Wooden Award odds favorite, Edey put up 40 points and 16 rebounds against a Volunteers defense that ranks third in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom.

He's going to be near impossible for NC State to slow down with the Wolfpack defense being just 44th in adjusted efficiency and struggling with fouls. The Wolfpack aren't just undersized vs. Edey - with no players over 6-foot-10 - but they match up poorly with how often they foul.

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NC State fouled the second most frequently in ACC play this season (19.5) and Edey gets to the line at an astronomical rate - he leads the NCAA with 11.5 free throws per game. It's hard to imagine NC State becoming the first No. 11 seed to ever reach the NCAA Tournament final with Purdue standing in its way.

-- Rob Paul SBR | Twitter/X

D.J. Burns has emerged as the darling of this year’s tournament, and deservedly so. But the Wolfpack’s cult hero will be hard-pressed to maintain his scoring pace in Saturday’s semifinals.

Listed at 6-foot-9 and a generous 275 pounds, Burns has been able to leverage his size inside to great success against smaller or less physically imposing frontcourts. For once, he’ll be the little guy across from Purdue’s Edey, who stands at 7-foot-4, 300 pounds and is a defensive terror for opposing bigs.

I’m also skeptical that Burns can stay out of foul trouble against Edey and the Boilermakers, who have paraded their way to the free-throw line all tournament long. Even if Burns manages to play 25-30 minutes, don’t expect a big night from the NC State center.

-- C Jackson Cowart SBR | Twitter/X

Alabama vs. UConn

Almost every Alabama game becomes a shootout due to the high pace Nate Oats demands and the 3-point attack he lives by schematically. This style lends to plenty of points on both sides, but the Crimson Tide usually outlast their opponent thanks to their offensive talent.

However, Alabama hasn't played a team as loaded as UConn nor a mammoth at center like Donovan Clingan. The Huskies big man is the biggest challenger to Edey by the March Madness MVP odds and is coming off a 22-point performance against Illinois in the Elite Eight.

Led by Clingan, UConn has the offensive talent to exploit this Alabama defense and outscore the Crimson Tide's offense. Alabama is at its worst inside the arc - allowing 20.3 made 2-pointers per game - which is where Clingan thrives. It's hard to imagine a team with as poor a defense as Alabama's pulling the upset against the Huskies.

-- Paul

The Crimson Tide entered the tournament as one of the nation’s best offensive teams, and Oats’ group has turned it up a notch over the last two weeks behind a breakneck pace and litany of capable scorers.

That’ll be much tougher to pull off against this UConn defense, which ranks fourth in adjusted efficiency and just smothered the top offense in the country in Illinois. That marked the fourth consecutive team to score fewer than 60 points against the Huskies, who have allowed 75-plus points just six times all year and only once in their last 11 games.

With the way that Clingan is defending the paint, Alabama may need an explosion from deep to do better than the Fighting Illini, who mustered a season-low 52 points in the Elite Eight. The Crimson Tide should be able to clear that bar, but don’t expect a shoot-out on Saturday.

-- Cowart

March Madness betting odds pages

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