Well well well. Here we are, the 2011 NCAA Tournament Final Four, the last weekend of the college basketball season. Though my blue and gray Tumi suitcase lies empty in my closet and not on the floor of a casual hotel room in Houston, we are nonetheless presented with a couple of very intriguing games this evening.
Games and Picks after The Jump:
First up on the undercard are your Rams of Virginia Commonweath against America's sweethearts, the Butler Bulldogs. Plenty of storylines here: the young 'genius' coaches Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart - will they be coaching their last games for their respective teams? Butler's Matt Howard - will he rise to the occasion and make his tiny village in Indiana proud it bankrupted itself sending his parents to see him play? VCU - can they possibly keep this level of play up? Are the VCU Rams the best team in the country? Will the Pep Band play Rihanna songs?
And then the late game, UConn against Kentucky. Jim Calhoun and John Calipari. Evil against more evil. Big East against SEC. Kemba Walker against the world. One shade of blue against another.
Butler -2.5 v. VCU:
The clock strikes twelve for the cinderella Rams, whose lights out shooting from deep takes a hit in the cavernous dome of Reliant Stadium. Butler's discipline, smart basketball and underrated team defense wins out as VCU will be unable to exploit Butler's most glaring weakness - its interior defense (see Macklin, Vernon). Final score: Butler 72 VCU 64.
UConn +2.5 v. Kentucky:
So let me get this straight. I'm getting Kemba Walker and 2.5 points? Kentucky may have top to bottom more talent, but I'll take Kemba and Lamb and bank on UConn's bigs staying out of foul trouble enough to cause the Wildcats some problems. Final score: UConn 83 Kentucky 76. Over under on Ashley Judd shots in the crowd is 2.5, and I'm going OVER. Way over.
As a fan of the Big East I'm inclined to root for UConn to beat Kentucky, reach the Final to shut up all the Big East naysayers, and then lose to either Butler or VCU because that would be awesome. What do you think?