If the men’s NCAA Final Four were held this weekend, here are its four teams.
No change from Week 1.
Last week I chose Wisconsin to win over Kentucky in the Championship Game.
That’s not gonna happen. Based on Kentucky’s overwhelming dominance against the then fifth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks ... not only will Kentucky be crowned champions they will win every game this season.
Ah. But this is college basketball. Yes, you say, but this is the 2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats who play in platoons. Each platoon plays 4-5 minutes. While they’re playing they’re not really competing against the other team, they’re competing against their teammates sitting on the bench, watching. Their performance determines future playing time.
Still, this is college basketball. The tournament is a one-and-done format. Fail to show up for one game and you’re done. Think about over the years to Georgetown vs Villanova in ’85, Houston vs NC State in ’83, Butler (who?) vs Duke in 2010, Duke vs Lehigh and Mercer for that matter. Every year there’s the overwhelming favorite that fails to show up for a game and their bounced to the offseason.
Kentucky carried extra motivations for this week’s game. Their coach, Coach Cal Calipari, coached University of Memphis in 2008’s national championship game when it was defeated by ... wait for it ... Kansas coached by Bill Self. The other motivation was their coming out party on a national stage. They wanted to show the world what this ‘platooning’ thing was all about. Show them they did.
Still, they have so much depth and talent that not only could they stumble but they could lie down for 30 minutes of every game and still go undefeated.
Still. It’s college basketball and teenage players and it’s a long season. Lots can happen.
- VCU. They have offense this year on top of their veracious defense.
- Texas. They’re not really a dark horse at number 10. But they have size and depth and two excellent point guards. The star, Isaiah Taylor is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. That's okay. This gives playing time for his backup before the conference games begin in January when he returns.
- Miami. They’re not a championship contender. But after beating Florida at Florida, coming back from fifteen points down, then they’re someone to watch.
- Gonzaga? They always look good playing in West Coast Conference games ... But defense not only wins championships it wins first and second round games (Duke's been reminded of that recently). And Gonzaga never plays defense. Ever.