By Jeremy Clements
Kentucky seems to be the favorite as many “experts” and analysts have picked the Wildcats citing the amount of talent on their roster. Others picked North Carolina because of the way they played at the end of the year and because of experience. Mizzou, Duke, Florida State are the trendy picks. Meanwhile, Syracuse has lost a lot favor with many because of the Fab Melo situation, who will miss the dance because of academic ineligibility. Here’s my bracket along with a few things I’m looking forward to seeing if things go as I hope they will.
Reasons behind my Final Four: Kentucky was the best team all year in my opinion, their youth could be their undoing but Anthony Davis might be the best player in the country. Head coach John Calapari knows how to get the best out of his players too so I expect Kentucky to make a deep run and leave the Big Easy with a title.
North Carolina turned it on at the end of the year and if not for the loss of John Henson in the ACC Tournament finals I think they would’ve gotten past Florida State. If they can get Henson back and add him to a team that already has the likes of Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and big man Tyler Zellar and I think the Tar Heels could be poised to make a run and challenge for the title in New Orleans.
Ohio State has depth and one of the nation’s best big men in Jared Sullinger and an elite guard in William Buford, I think they were the best team in the Big 10 and shouldn’t have a problem dispatching of a Melo-less Syracuse squad on the way to New Orleans.
Mizzou is a scary team. They are the most offensively efficient team in the nation and can run with anyone. Frank Haith has done a great job leading the Tigers during their final campaign in the Big 12, getting the best out of Kim English, Marcus Denmon and Matt Pressey. The Tigers could make a deep run but the thing to be wary of is their lack of rebounding. They shoot a lot of jumpers and don’t crash the boards well as they usually play only one big man with four guards. So if their shots aren’t falling and they allow their opponents to crash the offensive glass, the Tigers could be a quick out.
A few things I am looking forward to:
Mizzou battling Florida in the third round. Since I went to college in Webster Groves I had the chance to see Bradly Beal first hand and the kid has performed well at Florida. He spurned the Tigers to play for coach Billy Donovan and has led the Gators in scoring during his freshman year. I really want to see how he plays against the Tigers and think this should be the most watched game in the St. Louis area. I’m surprised local media didn’t talk about this potential match up more.
Murray State taking on Marquette. The Racers claimed the Ohio Valley Conference Title posting a 30-1 record and earning a 6 seed in the West region. They will get a chance to validate that ranking if they can get past a tough Marquette team in the 3rd round. Will the Racers run out of gas against the Golden Eagles or will they show the nation they deserved their spot?
A rematch of Kentucky – North Carolina in the title game. These two teams battled earlier this year and Kentucky claimed a one-point victory over the Tar Heels. Both teams have come a long way since then and in my mind these could be the two best teams in the nation when they play at their best. Can the Wildcats prove their first win wasn’t a fluke? Or will Roy Williams add to the legacy of North Carolina?
Those are a few things I’m looking forward to during March Madness. What are you looking forward to? Who’s in your Final Four? Leave those answers and any other feedback below in the comments and as always thanks for reading.