With two tickets already punched to the Final Four, two more games will determine who fills out the reminder of the field and who will survive a second straight weekend of March Madness. So far just the Florida Gators and Wisconsin Badgers have been able to move on but both the Michigan Wolverines and Kentucky Wildcats are itching to join them.
Should Michigan advance — which seems likely — we will have a showdown of big Ten teams to see who makes it to the national championship. Michigan has the depth to compete with the Wildcats and they also have the experience to make another run through the Final Four.
But while the Wolverines were here last year and survived, Kentucky has won back-to-back emotional games that are being regarded as instant classics, and that carries a lot of weight in terms of momentum. All it takes in March is to get hot at the right moment and it certainly seems that after a rocky season, Kentucky is doing exactly that.
Wins over Wichita State and Louisville were impressive but they were also draining. It seems wildly ironic that two big wins can be a bad thing for Kentucky, but the sheer emotion and energy poured into their win over Louisville may keep them going through the first half against Michigan but it could drain them quicker than many expect.
Kentucky is a very attractive choice and have a great chance to win, but they might be too drained and their luck could run out against Michigan.
Prediction: Michigan over Kentucky 74-71