2013 March Madness Final Four Preview & Predictions

by Scott on April 4, 2013

We’re now down to just four teams in the 2013 March Madness tournament and only one #1 seed has advanced. #1 Louisville will play #9 Wichita State in the 1st Final Four match-up and #4 Syracuse will play #4 Michigan in the 2nd Final Four game on Saturday.

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#9 Wichita State Shockers vs. #1 Louisville Cardinals Picks

Louisville opened up as a -10 point favorite and the line is now up to -10.5 points at most sportsbooks. I don’t expect to see much more movement before Saturday. The over/under opened at 130.5 points and has since been bet up to 132.5 points.

The Louisville Cardinals have been the best team in the tournament up to this point. Louisville ranked #42 in PPG (73.6) this year, but in the tournament Russ Smith and the rest of the Cardinals have scored an average of 80.8 PPG while allowing only 59 PPG.

Russ-Smith-F4Wichita State has put up great numbers in the tourney. The Shockers have scored an average of 72.8 PPG, which is over 3 points better than their season average (69.4 PPG – 114th). Defensively the Shockers have allowed 62.3 PPG in the tournament.

There is little doubt in my mind that the Cardinals will win this match-up, but can they cover a double digit spread? You typically don’t see such a big point spread in the Final Four and it’s hard to think that the Cardinals will blowout the Shockers.

I think the key for the Shockers to stay in this game is to shoot the 3-ball well. Wichita State nailed an average of 6.7 3-pointers per game this season and in the tournament they’ve knocked down 7.25 3-pointers per game including 14 against Gonzaga.

The big reason the Shockers beat the Zags was because they went 14/28 (50%) from beyond the arc. If the Shockers are able to heat up from beyond the arc again in this game against the Cardinals the final score will be a lot closer than many expect.

Louisville’s offense has been clicking on all cylinders and I don’t see the Shockers being able to stop them. Louisville has a nice inside and out game with Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng. Both players have also been great during the tournament.

When you look at the small factors that can give a team an edge Louisville also has the advantage. Not only are the Cardinals an experienced tournament team, as they made the Final Four last year, but they’re also playing for their team mate Kevin Ware.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video by now, but if not, Ware went down with a nasty leg injury in the Duke game. This Louisville team is very tight and they’re now dedicating the next two games to Ware and that added motivation could push them to a title.

My best bet in the Louisville vs. Wichita State game is on the U132.5 points. Louisville is going to put up points, but I don’t expect them to score above their tournament average. I also think that the Shockers are going to have a tough time putting up points.

Bet on the Under 132.5 Points -110 (5Dimes)

#4 Syracuse Orange vs. #4 Michigan Wolverines Picks

The Michigan Wolverines opened up as a -2.5 points favorite and we haven’t seen any line movement yet. The game total in this match-up opened up at 130.5 points and so far this week we’ve seen the over/under line move up a ½ point to O/U 131 points.

CJ-Fair-F4From what I’ve seen I was more impressed with the way Syracuse made it to the Final Four than Michigan. The Wolverines were playing terrible defense for 90% of their match against Kansas and I felt that the Jayhawks folded and gave Michigan the win.

Michigan did come out and play a lot better against the Gators, but who knows how they’ll come out on Saturday. These teams should match-up well, but they both get things done in a different manner and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

One of the most impressive stats of the tournament this year has to be that Syracuse is holding their opponents to 19% from the field. The Orange have allowed 45.8 PPG on average during the tournament and it’s because of their tough zone defense.

While Syracuse gets it done on defense, the Wolverines are one of the best offenses in the country. During the tournament the Wolverines have scored an average of 78.8 PPG. All season long Trey Burke has made this offense run very efficiently.

So far in the tournament the Wolverines have received huge contributions from Mitch McGary, but I think this match-up is going to be tough for him against the zone defense. He’ll have fewer opportunities in the paint, which will put pressure on the guards.

Michigan has been shooting the 3-ball well in the tournament, but the Orange are also great at defending the 3-pointer. I can see the Wolverines settling for the deep ball once the zone frustrates them, so it’ll come down to how well Michigan shoots.

Nobody has been able to figure out this zone defense yet and I don’t think the Wolverines will be able to solve it either. You can bet on the Orange at +2.5 currently, but I’ve decided to bet them on the ML at +120 odds instead, as I think the Cuse will win.

Bet on the Syracuse Orange +120 (5Dimes)

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Scott primarily focuses on the US sports at Tips and Picks and he spends most of his time analyzing the betting markets to ensure bettors always get the best odds