FINALly, a FOUR that excited us!
For the sports fan, there are a few nights of the year that we mark on our calendars. We make sure we will have access to a television, have the wife or girlfriend make some sort of plans, and get together with the boys for some beers and wings. Tonight is one of those nights! The table is set for what will be a tremendous Final Four!
This March Madness tournament has been perfect. We were able to witness a number of early upset, as we had the 15’s beat the 2’s and other small scale upsets. However, when the smoke cleared at the end of the first weekend, most of the top seeds were able to advance. Now I appreciate the underdog, Cinderella story to a degree, however, I may be alone in this opinion, but I much prefer when the top teams, with the big names, are those that make up to Elite Eight and Final Four. It makes for better basketball, more athletic play, and more compelling matchups.
Last year’s final was UConn vs. Butler, the year before was Duke vs. Butler. Don’t get my wrong, I’m sure Butler Bulldog fans were really excited, I however was not. Butler’s best player was Matt Howard last year. Enough said. This year, the Final Four is stacked with NBA talent. Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Jeff Withey, Peyton Siva, Tyshawn Taylor, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague and Doron Lamb are all capable of not only playing NBA ball, but being impact players. On top of that, we have some of the best coaches guiding their teams through to this round, with Matta, Self, Pitino and Calipari. These coaches have all been here before, know how to get the best out of stars, and know eachother well. Both matchups are re-matches from early this season, and Louisville and Kansas both have revenge on their minds.
As far as predictions, I have been very consistent from the onset of the tournament. I started the tournament with a Kentucky over Kansas finals, which was reflected last week in my (perfect) Elite Eight picks. Therefore, I believe Kentucky will play a close game with in-state rival Louisville, but in the end, Kentucky’s depth and talent will be too much for even Pitino to overcome. The second game is one in which I am hesitant to chose. This game will feature two of the best big men in the sport with Sullinger and Robinson, and I see a extremely close game. The Jayhawks love to run, Ohio State plays great on the ball defense. My heart is telling me to pick Kansas, my head is leaning towards the Buckeyes…. Well, I’m going to go with my heart (and my brackets) and picking the Jayhawks, as Tyshawn Thomas looked great against UNC and will carry it over tonight.
Enjoy the beer, wings, and basketball!