Bracketology for Dummies: Frank breaks down the Final Four

Bracketology for Dummies: Frank breaks down the Final Four

Greg Frank ('13)/ Eastside Staff

Second Weekend Recap and Final Four Weekend Preview

Best Game of the Second Weekend-

Midwest Regional Final: 2 Kansas 80, 1 North Carolina 68

The score may not indicate this game was all that tight, but if you actually sat down and watched all 40 minutes, it would have been worth the time investment.  In the first half both teams were knocking down shots left and right in what amounted to a 94-point display of offense with the score tied at 47 when all was said and done.  The second half remained tight; however, both teams tightened up on the defensive side of the ball.  Towards the end of the game, Kansas began to distance themselves from Carolina, led by Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who finished the game with 22 points, and National Player of the Year Candidate Junior Thomas Robinson who finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds, proving to be too much for the Tar Heels.  I had this game as the Midwest Regional Final when I filled out my bracket (believe it or not, I got something right), but I picked North Carolina.  Of course I did…they lost.  This would have been a different game if Carolina Point Guard Kendall Marshall was healthy and ready to go, and the CBS crew announced Sunday during the game that Marshall would have been able to play in this weekend’s Final Four if given a week to rest, but he wasn’t able to go and the Tar Heels weren’t able to advance without him.  But this game was fun nevertheless.

Best Player of the Second Weekend-

            Anthony Davis – Forward, Kentucky

            In two games against Indiana and Baylor, Davis averaged 13.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds per game.  He got some help from his teammates along the way but it was the 6’10’’ Freshmen that led the charge and propelled Kentucky to their 15th Final Four in school history.  Davis has a great shot at winning the National Player of the Year award as well as being the number one overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft this June.  However, over the weekend he wasn’t looking ahead to the future and focused on the task at hand in which he and the rest of his Kentucky teammates got the job done and will look to finish the deal in New Orleans and become only the second number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament to win the National Championship.

Biggest Surprise of the Second Weekend-

            Louisville stays hot

If you went into this year’s tournament thinking no team could do what UCONN did last year by winning five games in five days in a conference tournament and carrying the momentum to a National Championship, well, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals are getting close.  They finished seventh this year in the Big East and while it wasn’t quite a run like UCONN pulled off last year, they were able to win four games in four days to win the Big East Championship.  This went a long way for Louisville’s seeding in the big dance as they were able to play two non-power conference teams in their first two games disposing of Davidson and New Mexico, which I expected.  I didn’t expect them to beat Michigan State in the regional semifinal.  Michigan State had been playing sound defensively behind the big boy Draymond Green, and it appeared as if Louisville wasn’t going to be able to score enough points against them.  Well, 57 proved to be enough as Sparty only mustered up 44 points of their own and the Cardinals were on to the regional final against a streaking Florida team.  They got behind early, but weren’t ready to go home and rallied to win 72-68.  Peyton Siva had been the main man behind Louisville’s run to the Elite 8 but in this game it was forward Chane Behanan who came up with the goods to ignite the spark that carried Louisville to the Final Four.  Behannan finished with 17 points and seven rebounds against Florida and is going to have to play well against Kentucky too.  It takes a team effort to beat Kentucky.  Louisville had no business in the Final Four but a lot of credit has to be given to the job Rick Pitino has done this year to get them there.  Now that they’re this close to finishing the deal, don’t expect Louisville to back down on Saturday night against the Wildcats.

Best Game of Final Four Weekend

            National Seminfal  #1

Kentucky (East Regional Champion) vs. Louisville (West Regional Champion)

Like I said, now that Louisville has made it this far, they’re not going to roll over regardless of the fact that Kentucky is playing like the best team in the country.  Oftentimes in this tournament, the best team doesn’t always win.  I said earlier that the number one overall seed has won just once.  It’s usually the hottest team in the country that ends up cutting down the nets.  That said Kentucky is playing like they should win the National Championship this year.  But if you’ve been watching this tournament year in and year out you’d know to expect the unexpected.  These two teams played earlier this season and Kentucky won a close one in Lexington on New Year’s Eve 69-62.  But that doesn’t mean a whole lot now as it’s just one game for a chance to play for the National Championship on Monday night.  It’s an instate rivalry that Rick Pitino has had the luxury of being on both sides of.  But as he gets ready for one of his biggest games as Louisville head coach, the challenge that stares him down is the toughest his team has seen all tournament.  No one even got that close to Kentucky in the four games Kentucky has played in the tournament so far this year.  They scored over 100 points against an Indiana team that beat them in December.  It’s a daunting task, but one that I think Louisville will be ready for.

Player to Watch during Final Four Weekend

Thomas Robinson- Forward, Kansas

I talked about the important role he played down the stretch against North Carolina on Sunday.  What I didn’t talk about is why he’s the most important player of any of the four teams this weekend.  Kentucky has a bunch of stars, all of who can hurt the opposition at any time, Louisville seems to just be playing well right now and whoever it is that steps up they’ve been winning, and Ohio State relies on the one-two punch of DeShaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger to get it done late in games.  But Robinson has carried this Kansas team all year and I don’t see why he would stop now that his team is two wins away from a National Championship.  If Kansas is to win the National Championship Robinson would be my pick for National Player of the Year with a slight nod over Anthony Davis.  He means so much to this Kansas team.

*There will be a tournament recap and final edition of Bracketology for Dummies written on Tuesday, April 3.