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Mar
30
2014

How surprised should we be with a Final 4 of Florida, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Kentucky?

NCAA Championship Game: Butler v Duke

I wish I could say I knew this would be the Final 4, but if you looked at any of my brackets you’d know only Florida was a team that I had penciled in the Final 4. In my office pool nobody got more than 2 teams in the Final 4, Florida and the couple of people that picked Wisconsin.

We ran a Sweet 16 bracket with 10 more people, and only 1 person had 2 Final 4 teams. The basketball experts at CBSSportsline? A healthy number missed all 4 Final 4 teams, and only 1 “expert” picked more than 1 Final 4 team. I’d venture to say about 99% of the brackets are pretty much busted. Should we have seen in coming? How could so many people be so wrong?

Let’ start with Florida. No surprise here. Only a healthy Kansas team or a pre mid-February Syracuse would have offered any real resistance. The Gators are we well coached by college basketball’s next great coach Billy Donovan. They are athletic, senior-laden, and led by unflappable players like Scott Wilbekin and Patric Young. They are still my favorite to win it all.

Connecticut? This one I didn’t expect. This region was Virginia’s or Michigan St’s to lose. The Huskies lost by 33 points in the AAC to Louisville. Villanova was overrated as 2 seed, and the Huskies benefited from playing an Iowa St. team without it’s best player, but to knock of the Spartans took an exceptional effort from the Huskies and some questionable play from Michigan St. Why did the Spartans let themselves become so perimeter oriented? Connecticut’s backcourt tandem of Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier may be the nation’s best, and they could give Florida problems. They did in fact beat Florida earlier in the year, though it was not a fully equipped Gator team then.

Still nobody, but Husky fans saw this one coming. I think their run ends against Florida.

Wisconsin was an excellent team all year. This is Bo Ryan’s best team, and I had them in the Elite 8 of every bracket I filled out. I thought Arizona would eventually get them, but this is a Badger team that beat Florida, St. Louis, Virginia, Michigan St, and Michigan. Frank Kaminsky is the epitome of stretch 4. He can shoot and rebound and the Badgers play so disciplined, I can’t see them see getting forced out of their comfort zone. These Badgers can get up and down too. They scored 85 against Oregon earlier in the tourney. I think it’s a pretty even matchup with Kentucky.

Now to the Kentucky Wildcats. For Kentucky it was all about their guard play. On the interior, Kentucky was outstanding. They are big and talented. Julius Randle at times seems unguardable in the low block, but their guards held them back. The Harrison twins, James Young had just been so inconsistent. About 3-4 weeks ago in the SEC Tournament those guards started to figure things out. They don’t have to be Connecticut good to win, but just more consistent and Kentucky would go from a fringe NCAA team to one that could win it all. I thought eventually cracks would show up with the guards and the Cats would get bounced.

It didn’t happen against Wichita St, or Louisville, or Michigan. Those are all legit top 15 teams. I don’t expect it to happen now either. When Kentucky’s guard play decently, the Wildcats can play and beat anyone in the country.

When you look at all four teams now it doesn’t seem that shocking who’s in the Final 4, but if you saw this coming before the tournament then you can send some lottery numbers my way.


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