One-on-One: Who will win the NCAA Championship?

Kentucky Wildcats

As sick as we get hearing about the same few teams winning the NCAA tournament every year, it’s hard to beat good teams like the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wildcats can score from all five positions and in almost all of their rotations, against even the strongest of defenses trouble. Even in the last few weeks we have seen the Wildcats improve. They have become more team-oriented, and players are more precise with shot-selection.

Although we can all agree Kentucky shouldn’t have been ranked as a no. 8 seed, their road to the Final Four was arguably one of the toughest in NCAA tournament history.

With games against an undefeated Wichita State, the reigning champion and ultimate rivals of the Wildcats, the Louisville Cardinals, and a tough Michigan team, none of these wins came easily.

Coach Calipari had six McDonald’s All-Americans. No one has ever signed that many. Being ranked no. 1 in the preseason wasn’t for nothing. This young group of freshmen took awhile to mesh and reach their full potential.

If they continue to stay this hot, I think the Wildcats will be able to get their revenge on the Florida Gators and claim the NCAA title once again.

-Megan Gorecki

 

Florida Gators

The final weekend of the 2013-2014 college basketball season is coming up.  There have been many buzzer-beaters and blowouts, with 346 teams competing for 68 NCAA tournament bids.

The Gators (36-2) enter the final weekend with a 30-game winning streak, and it will likely be pushed to 32 games.  The no. 1 team in the country has a lot of confidence heading into the Final Four.

The Gators can attribute a lot of their success to their stingy defense.  Florida’s defense is third in opponent’s points per game, allowing just 58 per contest.  They use their quickness and size to force 7.2 steals per game, which ranks 60 in the nation.

Florida had two losses all season and they both come to two of the three remaining teams in the Final Four.  Semifinal opponent UConn won a regular season meeting 65-64 in Connecticut. Since then, the Gators have won 30 straight games.

Florida also lost to Wisconsin 59-53 but was without SEC player of the year Scottie Wilbekin and SEC sixth-man of the year Dorian Finney-Smith.

Wilbekin has stepped up since serving an early-season suspension.  In the tournament, he is averaging 17 points per game and takes over in key situations.

Florida’s tough defense and leadership from Wilbekin and Patric Young will make their opponents gator bait on their way to a third national championship.

 -Aaron Ferguson