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For The Record …

March 31, 2012

Minutes before tip-off in New Orleans, and I wanted to get my picks for each game on the record of the internet.  So in case I’m wrong, I can mocked and ridiculed just like anyone else.

For the first game with too many storylines to mention here, I believe the Kentucky Wildcats will prevail over Louisville’s Cardinals  in the rematch of the “Battle of the Commonwealth of Kentucky” (a New Year’s Eve tilt won 69-62 by Kentucky), as Louisville finally runs up against a team that can defend as well as they can, and score more proficiently.  Particularly I think Kentucky’s size on the perimeter bother’s Louisville’s three-guard rotation of Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Chris Smith that average 6’1″ across the board.   Kentucky is the consensus favorite to win it all and give John Calipari his first title in four Final Four trips, and has the pressure that accompanies such expectations, while Louisville, a No. 4 seed is seen as playing with “house money.” If Louisville can get John Wooden Award winner Anthony Davis in foul trouble throughout the game, pressure Marquis Teague into several turnovers, and Kentucky settles into a jump-shooting team instead of driving the ball to the rim, Rick Pitino’s Cardinals could upset the apple cart.  I just think that’s asking too much.

In the nightcap, I expect Ohio State – the team I thought would win the NCAA® Championship at the beginning of last year’s  tournament – to make the finals over an overachieving Kansas Jayhawks squad that in my view doesn’t have an answer for the Buckeyes’ Deshaun Thomas, who so far as been the MVP of this dance.  This game is also a rematch of a regular season contest, that one played at Kansas’ Allen Field House where the home team beat a Buckeye squad playing without their injured All-American center Jared Sullinger, 78-67.  Sullinger’s back has since healed, and how Kansas’ shot-blocking center Jeff Withey is able to defend him will go a long way towards determining today’s outcome. Kansas’ guards, especially Tyshawn Taylor who is 0-17 from 3PT, haven’t been shooting well all tournament, and unless that changes, I think Ohio State grabs a modest lead at some point in the first half and controls the game from thereon in much the same fashion they ousted Syracuse in the East Regional Final. Kansas Coach Bill Self has done an admirable job of guiding a team that lost four senior starters from last year’s Elite Eight squad to greater heights this season, but Thad Matta’s yearly accumulation of talent finally becomes greater than the sum of its parts today and should they advance, gives Kentucky all they can handle on Monday Night.

Let the games begin.


From → Basketball, Sports

One Comment
  1. I guess the answer for Deshaun Thomas was to get him in foul trouble …

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