Naturally, NCAA Tournament Odds are favoring Kentucky as they face Wisconsin. Almost everyone have the Wildcats in their brackets to win it all as do a number of bettors in terms of futures.
The Game Will Go Over If…
It plays out like it did last season. Remember, these two teams met in the Final Four last season and while the game was a classic, it also produced 147 points. And before everyone wants to point out that things were different back then, not a whole lot has changed. The Harrison Twins and Willy Cauley-Stein were integral members of last year’s team and the same rings true this year. For Wisconsin, it’s still the Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker show. Not much has changed.
What’s interesting is that Kaminsky and Dekker were held under wraps last year, for the most part, as the tandem combined for just 23 points. Even so, Wisconsin reached 73 as a team. That dynamic duo combined for 56 against Arizona and if they can simply do better than they did last season, this game should go over.
Although Kentucky is known for its defense, Wisconsin has punctured it before and they won’t be intimidated to do so again. Expect a similar scoreline to last season.
The Game Will Go Under If…
Kentucky has its way. These NCAA Tournament Odds favorites have been a dead-under bet this season as seven of their eight neutral site games have gone under, 14 of their 16 non-conference games and five of their six Tournament games. That’s because their defense has been historically good. Yes, it took a hit in their latest outing against Notre Dame but the Irish had been known as an amazing offensive team. Wisconsin isn’t in that category. Remember, Wisconsin was struggling against Arizona until they came out in the second half and started knocking down threes. They had just 30 points in the first half compared to 55 in the second while connecting on 12-of-18 three-pointers. That’s not likely to work as well against Kentucky. Before Notre Dame, teams had shot just 26.7% from distance against Kentucky, which was the second-lowest rate in the country. And it’s not like Notre Dame hurt those numbers too much as they only hit four-of-14 from three (28.6%).
The bigger challenge for Wisconsin will be Kentucky’s size. They have length and so much more muscle on the inside that it’s hard to see the Badgers winning those battles. They would need a modern miracle to shoot the same 55.6% from the field they did in the Elite Eight as well as the 66.7% from three. If Kentucky’s defense gets back to business, there’s no way this game goes over.
For a second straight season, we’ll see a classic between these two teams. And for a second straight year, we’ll seem more than 130 points. Dekker and Kaminsky won’t score 56 but they’ll poke holes in the Wildcats defense and help make this a back-and-forth affair. That being the case, take the over with your Final Four NCAA Tournament Picks.
NCAA Tournament Pick: Over 131 at 5Dimes