This tournament thus far has truly epitomized why the NCAA tourney has been proclaimed “March Madness.” Millions across the country filled out brackets. And most of those millions have done an awful job (myself included). And would you really want it any other way? It has truly been madness from the first tipoff.
That has become the nature of this tournament. People love seeing Cinderella’s and underdogs knock off the Goliaths or the big dawgs. Who really didn’t like seeing Northern Iowa shock the world and Kansas in the second round unless you were a Kansas fan? Who did not like seeing Butler knock of Syracuse on Thursday? I mean people love upsets. They keep people guessing and make this tournament fun.
So today we have two great matchups. The first one is between a Butler team on a 23 game win street and a very tough Frank Martin led Kansas State team. These are two great up and coming coaches matching up in Brad Stevens and Frank Martin. This is a 2 vs 5 seed matchup. Many would quickly say the game is for Kansas State to lose. I would say not so fast. Butler outplayed a very strong Syracuse team the other night. They figured out how to get easy, makeable shots against the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone. They are in this position for a reason. Also winning 23 straight games in today’s college basketball game is no easy feat. I do not care what conference you are in who you play.
Kansas States guards will need to come up big today and the bigs will really need to exert their presence in the paint. I give the edge to Kansas State due to their bigs. Though it would be a wonderful story to see Butler come home to Indianapolis for the Final Four, I think this Kansas State team is too good to lose today. The strike will be striking midnight on this very strong Butler team. It will be a very competitive game, but the Big 12 will be the first power conference to land a team in the Final Four this year with a hard-fought victory over a gutsy Butler team. We will go with K State winning a very close game 72 to 69 (take the score with a grain of salt).
The second game of the day is a matchup that everyone has been looking forward to since Selection Sunday. Many have proclaimed this the best matchup of the tournament. Two heavyweights from the power conferences slugging it out for a chance to book a ticket to Indianapolis. Kentucky hands down has looked like the best team in this tournament. They just have played outstanding and are really clicking on all cylinders. West Virginia has really not played great the entire tournament. But that is Bob Huggins basketball. Winning ugly. If Huggins can make this an ugly game, his Mountaineers will have a chance to pull the upset. You do know that Bob’s players will exert an outstanding effort level and leave it all on the floor tonight.
So my prediction for this one. West Virginia and UK will go back and forth in the first half and the game will be close heading into the 2nd half. Also you will see a ton of yelling from two of the country’s best and most intense coaches (John Calipari and Bob Huggins). Devin Ebanks will be guarding John Wall a good amount today. Huggins typically likes to put his athletic swing men on another team’s catalyst guard. Also be ready for an outstanding battle on the boards. These are two of the strongest and best rebounding teams in the nation. But in the end I think that Kentucky’s overall talent will prove too much for West Virginia. West Virginia will really miss the services of their staring point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant, and run out of gas in the end. I got Kentucky winning a bruising battle by single digits. We will go with a 70 to 62 score prediction (once again take the score prediction with a grain of salt).
Please enjoy the games tonight.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.