The people are filing into the city of New Orleans for this years NCAA Final Four 2012, march madness has been “MAD”as always, numerous teams have been bounced and sent home. All the drama, all the excitement, all the heroics, have built the stage for only 4 teams to stand on, BUT who will steal the show when the curtain closes? Lets look at the matchups below:
The first matchup of the evening will be the #4 Louisville Cardinals taking on the #1 ranked school in America the Kentucky Wildcats. Most would say the Wildcats are the favorite to win it all, but this game could be interesting. The teams have met 4 times in the NCAA Tournament and split all four meetings (2-2). Louisville has been having a tremendous postseason run, ever since the Big East Tourney they have gone unbeaten. Peyton Siva has been playing exceptionally well throughout the entire season, this team is looking like the UCONN of last year. We all remember what happened right? You guessed it they won the NCAA Championship in convincing fashion. The only obstacle standing in the way of Pitino and a championship is the 6’11 super natural being Anthony Davis and the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky coming off an 82-70 routing of the Baylor Bears, look to continue their winning ways in this tournament. The play of not only Davis, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrest and guard Doron Lamb has been superb, the key to Kentucky winning this game is simple; keep playing the way you’ve been playing. Fans don’t talk about how Kentucky is not the deepest team, but with their talent depth is no issue. 3 of the 5 Kentucky starters are top 10 draft picks (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, and Terrance Jones) not to mention they are coached by John Calipari. Point blank period if Kentucky does not cut the nets down this year my finger is pointing at Coach Cal.
Prediction: Kentucky by 9 (74-65)
In the night-cap it will be the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes going to battle against Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson and the #2 seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Let me be the first to say I believe this game will be one for the ages, great coaching, two really good defenses, and two great centers battling. Ohio State is coming in off a very emotional win against #1 seed Syracuse, and look to ride that high all the way to NCAA Finals Monday night. Jared Sullinger has made it clear he is in it for the title and that’s it, in an ESPN interview Sullinger stated “This is not a vacation, we look at this as a business trip”. After being sidelined last year he has a lot of critics to quiet, that will not be an easy task against this Kansas defense. Sullinger also couldn’t praise Thomas Robinson enough, deeming him the best player in college basketball. Mentally OSU should not be rattled after beating Kansas convincingly earlier on this season 78-67, minus their star Jared Sullinger. Meanwhile the matchup of Aaron Craft vs. Tyshawn Taylor will be very essential in this game, Craft a very good on ball defender could be a game changer. On the other side of the scorers table sits Bill Self and his Kansas Jayhawks, a very hard-working selfless bunch of guys that really get after it. Thomas Robinson is playing his best basketball of the season, no better time to do so than right now. Tyshawn Taylor finally come out of his funk during this NCAA Tourney, having an up and down type of season. Taylor as of late has been fantastic, averaging 14 ppg 4rpg 4 apg and 2.2 spg, also Travis Releford will play a key factor defensively for this group I’m interested to see if Coach Self puts Releford on Will Buford to try an slow him down. Elijah Johnson at the point guard spot may be vital in this kind of game. I expect it to be more halfcourt sets in this game, and Johnson will have to manage the clock well in order for the offense to run fluently. In the end the ball can bounce either way, BUT I expect Kansas to pull it out in a very close and physical ballgame.
Prediction: Kansas by 5 (68-63)
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