We started with 68 teams looking to cut down the nets in New Orleans. Now we are down to the Final Four, baby!
As I said on our Selection Show, the Goliaths were going to be playing in the Crescent City. We have two great heavyweight battles, with Louisville against Kentucky and Ohio State versus Kansas. Both are rematches from the regular season, but all four teams are very different than they were in December.
Let's break down the games.
LOUISVILLE VS. KENTUCKY
Wow, this is going to be special. These schools are separated by about 70 miles, and there will be a sea of blue and a sea of red in the Dome on Saturday.
Louisville is playing great basketball and some are comparing its run to that of Connecticut last year. The Huskies won the Big East tournament and used it as a springboard to cut down the nets in Houston. Louisville has won eight in a row going into New Orleans, including a Big East tournament championship.
One key matchup is going to be in the backcourt. Peyton Siva is the catalyst for the Cardinals and he has done a good job in the tournament, averaging seven assists per game. Marquis Teague has really matured and he has handled the pressure. These guys will really go at it.
For Louisville to win, Kyle Kuric has to be more consistent from long range. He has struggled a bit lately. Chane Behanan has become more of a factor inside during the tournament and he should put up a challenge to another diaper dandy, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Russ Smith had 30 points in a 69-62 loss in Lexington back on New Year's Eve. Rick Pitino said you never know what to expect from him, though he has led the Cardinals in scoring twice in the tournament.
Kentucky's Anthony Davis is a game-changer who is worth 15 points due to his defensive prowess. Doron Lamb has had the hot hand and Darius Miller is a big-time contributor off the bench.
I like John Calipari's team to advance to Monday night, 74-67.
If the first game is like Ali-Frazier, then this is Tyson-Holyfield.
I cannot wait to see the showdown in the paint between Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger. These are two of the best big men in America. Sullinger was out with back spasms for the first meeting back on December 10th, won by Kansas.
Tyshawn Taylor has a challenge against Aaron Craft, who is one of the premier on-ball defenders in the country.
Jeff Withey has been a major presence in the lane with 20 blocked shots in the first four tournament games.
The Buckeyes have so many threats. Deshaun Thomas is averaging nearly 22 points in the tournament. Lenzelle Smith Jr. has been contributing too.
A key could be William Buford, who has not shot the way he is capable of. Buford is shooting under 25 percent from the field over the past three games. I expect him to break through.
I love the coaching match-up of Bill Self and Thad Matta.
In the end, I think Sullinger and company will win.
I see Ohio State vs. Kentucky for the national championship on Monday night.