Final Four Odds

Final Four Odds

And then there were four. And what a Final Four the 2015 edition is stacking up to be. Arguably the top three teams from the season and a very game “Cinderella” coached by one of the best in college hoops equals an endless supply of storylines and drama. Undefeated Kentucky and 35-3 Wisconsin is a rematch from 2014’s Final Four won by the Wildcats 74-73. Duke and Michigan State renew a rivalry between Coach K and Tom Izzo that dates back to 1999, with the former holding an 8-1 advantage against the latter. The Championship Game possibilities are enticing, to say the least: Kentucky vs. Duke, Wisconsin vs. Duke, Michigan St vs. Wisconsin, and Michigan State vs. Kentucky. All four of those matchups would be worth the price of admission. Here’s a look at the early odds for the 2015 Final Four.

Kentucky  -150

The ‘Cats are fortunate to still be in the hunt for history after being outplayed by Notre Dame for 38 minutes in the Midwest Regional Final. The Irish held their own on the glass, committed only 7 turnovers, and doubled Kentucky’s assist total 16-8. However, hitting only 4-14 from beyond the arc for a team reliant on three-point scoring proved to be Notre Dame’s downfall. The Wildcats continue to get timely performances from different players; on Saturday it was Karl-Anthony Towns, who dominated the post to the tune of 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. This team can survive an opponent’s toughest punch and come right back with a knockout blow. Scares aside, this is their tourney to lose.

Duke  +300

Coach K’s 12th Final Four squad is one of the more entertaining to watch. For all the pub and praise Jahlil Okafor has received since November, it’s been fellow freshmen Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones that are leading the Blue Devils’ charge. Each has delivered huge efforts over the last two weeks with Winslow emerging into one of the nation’s top two-way talents, and Jones a reliable shooter in the clutch. At some point in early March, Duke started to play defense and once they did the pure athleticism and innate skill truly rounded into form. They have no depth and are still prone to lapses in judgment, but if any team has the physical and mental makeup to grind out a victory against Kentucky, it’s Duke. Having the greatest head coach in the game doesn’t hurt either.

Wisconsin  +400

They aren’t as overwhelming as Kentucky or as flashy as Duke, but the Badgers boast a veteran roster that utilizes a fundamental, disciplined brand of basketball that wears down and frustrates opponents. They are efficient at both ends of the floor and have the would-be Player of the Year in senior big man Frank Kaminsky, who is capable of scoring from anywhere on the court. They can also fire it from three as witnessed by their 12-18 display against Arizona. Beating the Badgers requires maximum effort and a little but of luck, so Kentucky will have to earn their trip to Monday night’s Final.

Michigan State  +800

The 7th-seeded Spartans are the lone underdog among the bunch. They lost to Duke and were swept by Wisconsin during the regular season. However, no one’s journey to Indy was as difficult. Wins over Georgia, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Louisville are proof that Tom Izzo’s experienced charges won’t blink in the face of quality competition. A one-two upset combination of Duke and the Kentucky-Wisconsin winner would place this Spartans team as one of the most unlikely to cut down the nets in the history of the NCAA Tournament. Counting them out isn’t advisable.