It’s almost no fun this year – Kentucky’s a 9-point favorite over Louisville, and you’d be foolish to pick against the Wildcats. Yes, Calipari has had his tourney struggles, and yes, UK has come up small in big spots the last two years under Calipari against Big East teams (Elite 8 loss to West Virginia due to 3-point shooting; Final 4 loss to UConn due to foul shooting), but could a team with the top two picks in the 2012 draft possibly lose?
Initially I was going to be all over Louisville getting 10 or more points, but anything fewer seems like a stay-away. I’ve even seen it dip to 8.5 in some places. I’ll play it safe and parlay the Wildcats and Buckeyes moneyline. My picks:
Kentucky 68, Louisville 62
Ohio State 78, Kansas 71
I’m not expecting two classics. The first UK-Louisville meeting was vomit-worthy, and the only way the Cardinals keep it close is mucking it up and turning the game into a grabby 1/2 court affair. That means far fewer MKG aerial rim assaults and alley-oops. Sure, it’d be fun for Louisville to pull the upset – can you imagine the reaction from the vocal Kentucky fanbase?
As for Ohio State and Kansas, I’m still bitter at the Jayhawks for beating the Tar Heels (I’m still shocked UNC melted down and I don’t blame the Marshall injury – after 35 minutes they trailed by one and had a chance to win! Damn you, Roy), and I don’t think this is a great Kansas team. I like Craft to shut down Taylor and ruin the Jayhawks’ offense, and I think the Buckeyes have too much on the wing in Thomas/Smith/Buford.
As usual, we’ll be all over the Final Four Saturday night, so stop by and stay awhile.