Final Four, Say No More

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NCAA Men's Basketball

The NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament has been narrowed down once again, to the final group of teams who will now meet next weekend in San Antonio for the national championship. The Road to the Final Four is set, marking the first time in the tournament’s history that all four #1 seeds made it this far.

Although today is April Fool’s Day there isn’t anything tricky (or foolish) about this weekend’s three games. Let’s take a look at the last four teams standing and what the pairings will bring to the court.

North Carolina — The prohibitive favorite, the Tarheels coasted to victories in their first three games before being challenged by the Louisville Cardinals. Once the Heels snapped a 59-all tie by running off 7 consecutive points, UNC took control of the game and eventually won by 10 points. Juniors Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson have carried UNC thus far, but with the Jayhawks up next, the Heels will need their best game yet in order to advance to the championship game.

Kansas — The Jayhawks had the dubious distinction of having to meet the Davidson Wildcats for their regional championship, a team with destiny written on their backs. Led by guard Stephen Curry’s 25 points, it took a missed last second shot to send the Jayhawks to San Antonio. Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur loom large for Kansas, but do they have what it takes to knock off UNC?

Prediction: North Carolina 82, Kansas 74

Memphis — John Calipari is one of the best coaches in the business, but his Tigers have swooned in their last two Elite Eight appearances. This year, Memphis looks very strong despite not being able to put away Mississippi State in the second round. In the ensuing two rounds, Memphis dominated two very good teams, Michigan State and Texas, to reach the Final Four. Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose have what it takes to carry Memphis to the championship game, perhaps to the national title.

UCLA — Rich in basketball history (football, too) the Bruins are coming off back-to-back Final Four appearances where they just weren’t able to get it done. If “three is a charm” then this is the year when the Bruins will be crowned. An opening round yawner against Mississippi Valley State almost cost them against Texas A&M in the second round, but their domination of Xavier in the regional championship underscored that the Bruins are strong. Expect UCLA to need season-best performances from Kevin Love and Darren Collison if they are to beat Memphis

Prediction: Memphis 87, UCLA 78

Championship — A UNC match up would pit the two top teams in the country against each other for a game that should go down to the wire. A clear toss up, but I’ll be rooting for the Tarheels who should win it all, 84-82.

If you have a better idea how this tournament will unfold, feel free to hit the reply button and leave your comments too. Enjoy the games!

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