Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to Final Four Saturday...

...Otherwise known as Blackout Saturday for Kentucky residents.

I decided to share my inclinations on what we will see tomorrow night, with Kentucky-Louisville tipping off the first game in New Orleans in a little under 15 hours from now. Of course, these are just my unprofessional insights, and judging by my bracket this year, these predictions are likely to be horrifically inaccurate.

Honestly, I'm not very sure how Louisville got to this point. It wasn't so long ago that I was watching this team struggle early on to beat teams like Miami Ohio at home when they were ranked #4 in the country. I didn't have much expectations for this team all season, yet they came into Manhattan for the Big East tournament and completely took Madison Square Garden by storm. They've been on a roll since opening up with an ugly looking game against Seton Hall in the Big East tournament opener, winning 8 postseason games in a row. Kemba swag has definitely been set to ON for Siva and the Cardinals this postseason.

Kentucky has been a clear #1 team in the country for most of the season now, and have continued to look strong in the postseason despite a tough SEC championship loss to Vandy. Kentucky won the first matchup with their hated rivals in Lexington on Dec 30 of last year, winning by 7 points. This occurred during a time when Louisville looked to be heading in the wrong direction and were riddled with injuries. I personally feel that the Cardinals, being on a hot streak, will be able to really keep this game tight for most of the game, and with their mojo they even have a legitimate shot at knocking off the Wildcats. But in my gut, I feel the Wildcats are still the most talented team in the country and will be too much for Louisville to overcome. After a disappointing showing in ATL last weekend, look for freshman sensation Anthony Davis to come out strong tonight and dominate the boards all game. Marcus Kidd-Gilchrist was an absolute monster in the first matchup, and I expect him to contribute big time tomorrow as well. And if Terrence Jones gets going, Louisville might as well start up the buses early.

For the 2nd match-up, Kansas vs Ohio State, I'm not exactly sure what to expect. Kansas won the first match-up between these schools in Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas) earlier this season, but with limited action from star Buckeye center Jared Sullinger. With this in mind, I expect Sullinger to come out strong looking to makeup for his absence in the first game. However, Thomas Robinson has been arguably the best player in the country this year, helping this Jayhawk team tremendously overachieve all season long. Robinson has a knack for making huge plays in close games (a la vs Mizzou and Purdue) and willing his team to victory, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Robinson shutting down Sullinger beneath the basket. All in all, I feel that Kansas has the momentum going right now, and I expect them to continue that momentum right into the finals with an unfortunate date with Kentucky, who manhandled the Jayhawks in the very beginnings of this season.

For this weekend, the most important thing is that everyone enjoys the last weekend of college basketball for the 2011-2012 season. Good luck to all of you still alive in your bracket pools, although you have one sick mind to have a decent bracket by this point in the tournament. May God bless your troubled soul.

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