Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And then there were four...

Final Four week is upon us, the saddest time for fans of college sports. Once the Final Four is over, the countdown to college football season begins. Enjoy it while it lasts. I know I will.

As for the last four teams standing, you have to give credit to all of them. Great story in Butler, the #5 seed playing 17 minutes from their campus. That kinda stinks for them. They reach the Final Four, and don't really get a trip out of it. Oh well, they made it there, which 61 other teams would love to be able to say.

Then you have Michigan State. National runner-up last year, and back to the big stage again. How folks don't credit Tom Izzo as being one of the top coaches in the country, is astonishing. Starting guard Kalin Lucas goes down with an injury, yet Izzo finds a game plan for his team to edge Tennessee and advance to Indianapolis. Hard for me to label them an underdog to Butler, but also hard for me to make them a favorite.

For the record, I have never been a fan of Bob Huggins. I have no reason to dislike him, mind you, but there has always been something that has sorta turned me off of him as a coach. Have to respect what he has done at West Virginia, though. They are the one, and only, team that has been able to handle the pressure that comes with being in the Big East come tournament time. They are athletic, quick, and they find new ways to beat you.

Which leads us to Duke. The lone #1 seed left. They have gotten here by getting away from the Coach Mike Krzyzewski formula. Normally, Duke is a jump-shooting team. History bears this out. When Duke hits jumpers and 3-point shots, they are dominant. When they go cold from the outside, they go home. Well, they were relatively cold from the outside in games 2 and 3 of the tournament, but found ways to win, thanks to some muscle underneath. Brian Zoubek, and the Plumlee's (Miles and Mason), had given Duke an interior presence that I can't say I have seen before. Their ability to get rebounds, and score tough buckets underneath are a big reason why Duke has made it to Indy.

Early predictions: Michigan State edges Butler 66-63, while Duke somehow manages a 72-68 win over West Virginia. I would pick Duke to win the title over the Spartans in the final, 77-72.

Then again, if you think I can pick basketball games, you haven't read anything from me about my brackets. Yuck.

Mike Solarte

Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/MikeSolarte

No comments: