N8’s Picks for the Final Four: Cinderella vs. the Favorites

N8’s Picks for the Final Four: Cinderella vs. the Favorites

N8’s Picks for the Final Four: Cinderella vs. the Favorites

Coming off an exhilarating Elite 8, the storylines are primed for a classic David versus Goliath matchup. The favorites, UConn and Purdue, dispatched of their opponents with relative ease leaving them well-rested for the final stretch. On the other hand, the two Cinderella squads - NC State and Alabama, both roll into their respective matchups battle-tested and riding high. The magical run for the Wolfpack continues after routing in-state rival Duke in a matchup that wasn’t close in the second half. One of only five 11-seeds to ever make the Final Four, the Wolfpack draw their toughest test to date. Let’s dive into the Final Four matchups.

(11) NC State (26-14) vs. (1) Purdue (33-4)

Saturday, April 6th 6:09 p.m.

The marquee matchup everyone will be tuned into this weekend, pits the NC State Wolfpack against the heavily favored Purdue Boilermakers. This Cinderella season for the Wolfpack, which remarkably began weeks ago with an improbable last-second shot against Virginia, runs into the toughest matchup to date against the Boilermakers. Purdue, led by star center Zach Edey, have coasted through the tournament thus far, winning by large margins in games that weren’t competitive. The Wolfpack have had to earn their way through each and every game, preparing them for this moment. NC State hopes to have the answer to Edey in their own frontcourt superstar, DJ Burns. Burns has been unstoppable with his left hand on the block and hopes to continue his success against his toughest matchup yet. The spread in this game is large and with NC State’s experience in tough games, look for the Wolfpack to cover even if their Cinderella season ends here. 

N8’s Pick - NC State +9.5

(4) Alabama (25-11) vs. UConn (35-3)

Saturday, April 6th 8:49 p.m.

In a battle of two high-scoring teams, this matchup will be an entertaining shoot-out sure to have some fireworks. UConn rolls into this game as the best team in college basketball, unrivaled by any time over the course of the season. The Huskies have a balanced attack with all five starters a threat to score at any time. Their defense is led by all-Big East center Donovan Clingan who is averaging 2.5 blocks a game down low. The Tide also have a deep squad but if the past few games have been any indication, expect star guard Mark Sears to take over at some point and score points in a flurry. Averaging 21.5 ppg over his last 10 games, a Sears run of complete dominance will be needed for the Tide to hang around with this elite Huskies squad. He can provide the offensive spark but the question of the night will be can this Alabama squad contain a UConn team that has obliterated every team in their path. Expect the over to hit in this matchup and for it never to be in doubt. 

N8’s Pick - O160.5