By Josh Kramer
I have avoided it for the past few weeks. I know it is a bad idea. And when my bracket completely unraveled on the first Friday of the tournament by around 11PM, my desire to provide round by round predictions faded (thanks to Norfolk State and Lehigh largely). But this the Final Four. There is no bigger story in sports. Plus, this year lacks a Cinderella and features two rematches of powerhouse programs. Here are my predictions as the attention of an entire nation heads to Nawlins (New Orleans).
Louisville vs Kentucky
The Skinny: Round two in 2012 of one of College Basketball’s best rivalries. There has probably never been a bigger sporting spectacle in the illustrious history of the Bluegrass State. Come 9PM on Saturday, let’s hope that all cities in the state of Kentucky are still standing. This is the 3rd straight year that the Big East Champion has made it to the Final Four. Coincidentally, Calipari’s past two Kentucky teams have both seen the same fate in March: losses to the Big East Tournament Champion in the NCAA Tournament (West Virginia 2010, Connecticut 2011). The third time will be the charm for the Wildcats though. In my lifetime, I do not think there has ever been more of a heavy favorite heading into the Final Four. This includes the 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (who oddly enough lost) and the 2007 Florida Gators. Kentucky is the best team College Basketball has seen in the past 15 years. They have no noticeable weaknesses and are currently playing their best basketball.
Interesting Stats: Calipari is 8 and 8 career versus John Calipari (11 and 11 if you include NBA days) Though it should be noted that Calipari is a career 0 and 4 versus Pitino in postseason matchups. Lastly, Calipari and Pitino are the only college basketball coaches ever to take three different programs to the Final Four.
Prediction: Kentucky 80 Louisville 67 Continue reading