NCAA Final Four Previews.

The Final Four hopes to be as exciting as every years is.

The Final Four hopes to be as exciting as every year’s is.

Matt Brownsword

The Final Four hopes to be as exciting as every year's is.



In the ‘other’ Final Four matchup, the two-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes from the East take on the two-seeded Kansas Jayhawks. Ohio State cruised through their part of the bracket until they were seriously tested against Syracuse in the Elite Eight. The Buckeyes prevailed, largely due to Fab Melo’s suspension from the tournament. Kansas’ road proved much more difficult. After a cakewalk against fifteenth seeded Detroit, Kansas was challenged by a veteran and determined ten-seeded Purdue, and then was almost upended by Cinderella eleven seed North Carolina State. The elite eight matchup against the Tar Heels of North Carolina proved to be their largest win since the first-round matchup, due in large part to a 13-1 run at the end of the game. One of North Carolina’s certain lottery picks, Kendall Marshall, was injured and did not dress for the game, creating an easier matchup for the Jayhawks. Ohio State comes in playing its best basketball of the year, while the chronically overrated Jayhawks come in limping. Expect Ohio State to pull through because of big man Jared Sullinger dominating Kansas center Jeff Withey, lefty DeShaun Thomas playing solid defense against Kansas star Thomas Robinson, and Buckeye point guard Aaron Craft dominating the assist category.


 All hell is going to break loose in the Bluegrass state this Saturday when the Louisville Cardinals face off against the favored Kentucky Wildcats. They play for the first time ever in a Final Four match-up of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I can tell you that this game, in the minds of Kentuckians, is equivalent in magnitude of a Yankee-Red Sox playoff game, Bruins- Canadians Game 7 or Celtics-Lakers NBA finals.

 These are classic college programs. Each sells more than 20,000 tickets a game. They are the NCAA’s two richest basketball moneymakers. Kentucky has won seven national championships, Louisville, two. Kentucky has been in 15 Final Fours, Louisville, nine. This is Calipari’s best team. It is quick, fast, strong, long, and can terminate with extreme prejudice at either end of the court. Pitino’s team, early on, was a mess. In December, it lost at Kentucky, 69-62. But he now has the Cardinals on an inspired, unexpected, winning-ugly streak built on relentless defensive efforts that have befuddled high-rev offenses.

  I expect another tight one in New Orleans, but it just seems as though Calipari has his club clicking on all cylinders. Yea sure, Louisville has the 2012 Kemba Walker in Peyton Siva, and a solid perimeter shooter in Kyle kuric; however, Kentucky is running on a seven-man rotation of NBA players, try guarding that Pitino. Kentucky 89; Louisville 82.


Matt: LEHIGH (15) OVER DUKE (2)

As a Tar Heel fan, it is difficult not to choose a moment in which Duke loses. A Duke first-round loss? Too good to pass up. Duke’s blue chip recruiting team of Austin Rivers and Seth Curry fell to the one-man show of CJ McCollum’s thiry points. The brother combination of Miles and Mason Plumlee fell to CJ McCollum. Coach K, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history, was upended by Murray H. Goodman, coach of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. A program with the storied history of Duke was beaten by an unknown team in Lehigh. For only the sixth time in history, a fifteen seed beat a two seed. And Duke’s loss was oh so sweet for North Carolina fans, Lehigh fans, mid-major fans, and fans of basketball.


I’m guessing the “other” NCAA analyst of the Rebellion Staff, Matt Brownsword the UNC fan that he is, chose Leigh over Duke as his best moment of the 2012 Tournament. Yeap, so I’ll just discuss the “other” moment when Norfolk State defeated Mizzou in the first round. They were the fifth fifteen in history (the first of the day) to upset a two in the round of 64. It was the moment when you probably said, “there goes my bracket” or “I wish I could go back in time to change that one.” It’s okay, everyone else in the country was just as irate as you were, except for Norfolk St. They were even surprised to win. One player said after the game in the locker room: “We’re trending on Twitter right now — nationally.” When you look back on this tournament, hopefully it’s this moment you remember and say that was pretty incredible.