By Kory Kinslow
The season has come down to it's final four, and to the shock of many, the SEC has two teams left standing. This tournament did not go the way most picked, but Kentucky may just be the shock of the tournament. Florida was the number one overall seed and most prognosticators had picked them to get the the round of four. Kentucky was given an eight seed and had to beat undefeated Wichita State and Louisville, before defeating Big Ten Power and number 2 seed Michigan to get to the semi-final round.
Florida had a bit of an easier road and won the games they played in
typical fashion. Their defense carried them and they bullied people on
the inside. Kentucky continued to rebound on the offensive end and use
their size at the guards, as well as pure talent, to overcome what
seemed to be insurmountable odds.
The Final Four will start at 6:09 Eastern Time with #1 Seed Florida (36-2) taking on #7 Seed Connecticut (30-8). The Gators have a very complete and experienced team. They have Scottie Wilbekin, who was the SEC player of the year and SEC player of the tournament. He has averaged 13.4 points this season along with 3.7 Assists Per Game. He is complimented by scorer Casey Prather who averages 13.8 ppg and 4.9 rpg.
Michael Frazier II has 12.6 ppg, while big man Patrick young averages 10.8 ppg and 6.2 rebounds. Young also averages 1.1 blocks per game. Wilbekin, Young, and Prather are all Seniors. Sophomore Devon Walker contributes minutes off the bench. Sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith has been a force on the inside all year and Will Yeguete, another Senior plays hard and gives rebounding and good minutes on the inside at 6-8 230.
Shabazz Napier leads the way for Uconn with over 18 points per game. He also rebounds well, with 5.9 a game. Napier is the undoubted leader on the Huskies. DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright also contribute with double figures in scoring. Daniels and Napier lead the team in rebounding. Napier also averages 4.9 APG. There is not a guard in the country as complete as Napier. The battle between Napier and Wilbekin should be great to see. Florida appears too complete to not win against the American Athletic Conference's Uconn Huskies.
The eight seed Kentucky out of the SEC will then play 2 Seed Wisconsin at 8:49 ET. Kentucky starts five freshman. They have a lot of size inside and have played their best basketball at the end of the season. Wisconsin has been fairly consistent, and also has a good inside game. Julius Randle has been the best player for the team all year. He is averaging 15.1 ppg and 10.7 rpg. He handles and passes the ball well at his size, which makes him the most dangerous player for Kentucky.
James Young and Aaron Harrison are both averaging 14.1ppg. Willie Caley-Stein has been great off the bench, but may not be able to play. Alex Poythress and Andrew Harrison have also contributed a lot of minutes. Dakari Johnson is that next guy off the bench you have to worry about. In the last game Marcus Lee played in place of Caley-Stein and did a superb job. Kentucky is one of the best rebounding teams in the country. They can bully you on the inside and play great defense. Wisconsin has won 30 games on the season. Frank Kaminsky is their best player. He averages 14.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg.
Others in double figures in scoring are Ben Brust, Sam Dekker, and Traevon Jackson. This is a more balanced Wisconsin team than in years past. They are good on the inside, but love to get out and run as well. This game promises to be good. It is two teams that will cancel the other team's strengths out, so it will come down to who is the strongest mentally. Wisconsin may have an advantage, but it is hard to pick against the athletic ability of this Kentucky team.
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