What a great week for sports! Major League Baseball’s Opening Day followed up by the semifinals and championship of the NCAA tourney. The 2011 version of March Madness has been very exciting. Upset specials, no 1-seeds in the Final Four and some amazing play from quality gamers (Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving) have all captured the eyes, ears and hearts of Americans nationwide. Tonight’s game, followed by Monday’s championship will provide us with some closing entertainment to a great college basketball season. One thing that this year’s tourney showed us was the mediocrity of an even playing field. It proved to us that most of these kids can ball with each other and that a team who gets on a roll (VCU, Butler) can ride their wave all the way to the Final Four. Here is my preview for the final rounds of the 2011 NCAA March Madness tournament…
8. Butler v. 11 VCU…Nobody saw this one coming. Butler comes in after being runner-up last year and rides their momentum all the way through the big dance. They beat ODU, Pitt, Wisconsin and Florida on their way to cutting down the net and flying to Houston. Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard will prove to be too much for the Cinderella story of Virginia Commonwealth. The Rams were involved in a play-in game versus USC and followed it up with four victories against Georgetown, Purdue, Florida St. and Kansas. Their most impressive game was against Kansas in which they charged on the Jayhawks early and were able to come up with stops and timely buckets to hold off one of the tournament favorites in the end. The matchup pits two of the nation’s youngest coaches against each other (Brad Stevens of Butler, Shaka Smart of VCU) and I have a feeling we will be seeing these guys a lot in our future. I got Butler edging out VCU and making some Free Throws down the stretch for the victory…75-68, Butler Bulldogs.
4. Kentucky v. 2. UConn…Kentucky was my only final four pick that made it to Houston. Brandon Knight has been phenomenal in the tourney and has put Kentucky on his back several times, while Kemba Walker has done the same for UConn. John Calipari’s Wildcats knocked off Princeton, West Virginia, Ohio St. and UNC to make it to where they are today. Strong perimeter shooting and the hustle and hardwork of surprise beast, Josh Harrellson, have been the leys to victory and they will look to use their size against UConn. The Huskies of Connecticut have been led all season by the play of Kemba Walker. The Junior Guard from the Bronx has averaged 26.75 ppg and 6.75 apg during the tourney and will be essential if UConn wants to be the young and athletic Kentucky team. I think Kemba’s magical run ends here as the WIldcats length and speed will get the best of Kentucky. This will be a great game between two historic college hoops programs…67-64, Kentucky Wildcats.
Check out the games today on CBS starting at 3pm pacific standard time. I am very excited for both of them and expect some good, solid games. You can also find more coverage back here at 756sports tomorrow and Monday for the championship. Enjoy the show.