Final Four Picks

Kemba Walker is one of many players to make this year's tournament great. photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America

All eyes will be on Reliant Stadium in Houston as the Final Four is finally here.  Let’s see how it breaks down.

National Semifinal Game One: VCU vs. Butler

Both of these teams just refuse to lose.  VCU is this year’s Cinderella.  They won a play in game over USC to even be in the tournament and they haven’t looked back since.  They have truly peaked at the right time.  Joey Rodriguez, Jamie Skeen, and Brandon Rozzell and the rest of the Rams play all out for 40 minutes for Shaka Smart and when their up tempo high powered offense is clicking they are hard to stop.

Butler, last year’s Cinderella, has moved on to bigger and better things, like becoming the Gonzaga of the Midwest, only better.  Brad Stevens has built them into perennial title contenders.  Experience was a key ingredient for the  Bulldogs as they overcame close, tight, down to the wire games to get to Houston.  They enter Saturday’s game on a 13 game win streak.  Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack are back and they will be used to the magnitude of the Final Four stage.

I think new Cinderella gets the best of old Cinderella.  VCU finds a way to get it done again.  This team is fearless.  Their athleticism, quickness, and firepower from three point range will be a little to much for Butler to handle.  The Rams move on to the final on Monday night.

National Semifinal Game Two: Kentucky vs. UConn

It took a while but Kentucky has finally learned how to execute late and win tough, close games.  They have won their last 10 games.  Brandon Knight has won 2 games at the buzzer by himself.  Josh Harrellson has improved greatly and provides  a nice presence down low to add to the overall balance of the team.  Their are several weapons on this team for Coach Cal as he brings a third different school to the Final Four in search of his first championship.

UConn’s tournament run has been unbelievable.  They have won 9 in a row, including an amazing 5 wins in 5 days to win the Big East Tournament title.  Jim Calhoun is no stranger to Final Fours either, he is seeking his third national championship.  Having Kemba Walker on his side no doubt makes him breathe easier.  The do everything guard can set the table for others or flat out take over the game if he needs to.  Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi provide additional scoring toughness, and rebounding.

This game has everything.  Throw in Calhoun and Calipari’s frosty relationship and what more can you ask for?  The Cats are 8-0 this season in rematches against teams that beat them previously (UNC, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Florida twice, and WVU who knocked them out in last year’s Elite Eight).  UConn beat them soundly in Maui at the start of the season.  Kentucky will make it 9 for 9 and move on to face VCU.

National Championship Game: Kentucky vs. VCU

Richmond, VA and all of America will be pulling for VCU to cap off their season with a win over Kentucky.  The clock finally strikes midnight as the Wildcats are big enough to cause trouble for the Rams inside with Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson and still possess the length, quickness, and athleticism on the wings that Kansas lacked to slow VCU down just enough to bring championship #8 back to Lexington.

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree?  It doesn’t matter.  Feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 2 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.