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Big Ten in NCAA Basketball Elite Eight Preview: Michigan should beat Kentucky

Kentucky coach John Calipari knew the path wouldn't be easy, but he and the Wildcats are facing their third Final Four team from 2013 in the last ten days. They are playing last year's national runner-up, the Michigan Wolverines, in today's Midwest regional final.

Nik Stauskas #11 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots a three pointer against the Tennessee Volunteers during the Midwest regional semifinal of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Michigan (28-8) enters the game after battling to a two-point victory, 73-71, over Tennessee. Despite all the publicity about the Kentucky's "young and developing" team, the Wolverines aren't exactly senior citizens. U of M will start just one senior (Jorgan Morgan), one freshman and three sophomores against the Wildcats.

Leading the way will be sophomore guard Nik Stauskas who is Michigan's leading scorer with a 15.3 points per game (PPG) average. He will need help from sophomore guard Caris LeVert and sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III. LeVert is the team's assist leader with four per game and Robinson was second in scoring during the regular season with a 13.1 PPG average.

Kentucky (27-10), the Midwest's No. 8 seed, beat Kansas State in the second round and then proceeded to beat the undefeated Wichita State Shockers. After beating the No. 1 seed, The Wildcats beat Louisville, last year's national champs, to earn a place in the regional finals.

They use a diversity of talent to overcome the adversity of playing top-notch opponents. Freshman forward Julius Randle leads the team in scoring with a 15.1 PPG average. Freshman swingman James Young and freshman guard Aaron Harrison are both averaging 14.1 PPG. Aaron's brother, Andrew, is scoring at a 11.1 PPG pace.

It should be a close game but I pick Michigan's talented sophomores to beat Kentucky's freshmen in the Midwest regional final.

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