Friday, April 4, 2008

Final Four Preview

Well, I've finally moved past USC's early exit from the Tournament (returning from spring break and going back to studying and paying bills will do that to you), and still dealing with the fact that fucla is still in it, but there's been some nice moments in this year's Big Dance that have helped me get through it.

There was that nice cinderella run by Davidson that led to a star being born in sophomore guard Stephen Curry.

There were some fantastic finishes in first weekend games:

San Diego over UConn (which derailed my bracket)

Western Kentucky over Drake

Stanford over Marquette

and fucla over Texas A&M (with a little help from the refs)

The second weekend provided us with an NCAA Tournament first...all four #1 seeds advanced to the Final Four. Due to my personal bias, I picked only 3 of the 4 correctly in my bracket (Unfortunately, I had UConn beating fucla in the Sweet 16), but my championship game prediction is still intact and I'll stick with my projections.
In the Roy Williams Bowl featuring North Carolina against Kansas, I like Roy to lead his Tar Heels to victory against his former team. How do you pick against a team led by Psycho T? Tyler Hansbrough is by far the most impressive and inspirational player that I have ever seen. He is the definition of a leader and just wills his team to victory. Kansas is probably the best team in the country, but Bill Self is a joke, and he'll have no answer for the AP National Player of the Year.

In the other game, I like Memphis (surprised?) to end fucla's very fortunate run towards another banner. Unfortunately for them, John Wooden and those previous banners won't factor into the scoreboard. I picked Memphis to win it all because they are a complete team, very athletic and really get after it on both ends of the court. Sound familiar? Yes, they remind me a lot of the back to back champion Florida Gator teams that embarrassed fucla two years in a row. I think the only team that can beat Memphis is Kansas, which features a tough duo inside in Arthur and Jackson, whereas fucla offers nothing in the frontcourt after Kevin Love. I hate to admit it, but Love is an incredible player and will give Memphis all they can handle. The only problem for the bruins is that Love's backups (Keefe, Mata, and Dragovich) pack very little punch offensively. Expect Josh Shipp, who has been ice-cold all season, to continue his slump and take himself out of the game with a 20% shooting night. All the pressure will be on Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to provide some assistance for Love. Offensively, Memphis has only two minor concerns: their free throw shooting and their tendency to settle for jump shots. If Memphis plays aggressive and breaks down the bruins off the dribble, they have the athleticism and the muscle to finish at the rim. I guarantee that Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts won't back down from Love and will take it strong to the rack. Go get 'em Tigers!

Like I said earlier, I picked Memphis over North Carolina in the Championship. Regardless of this weekend's outcomes, I just want to see some good games and some fair officiating. Oh and by the way, Kansas and fucla, you both suck!!

Go Memphis!!

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