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Final Four Predictions

FINAL FOUR – Alamodome San Antonio, TX
Memphis vs UCLA ( -2 ) 6:07 PM

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Chris – This game is going to probably be an ugly one. Both teams play hard scrappy defense, barrel through screens, and love to drive and finish around the rim. This game will turn into a turnover-laced, foul-laden slugfest.

The Tigers are at their best when they’re playing aggressive defense, crashing the boards hard and sharing the ball through their dribble-drive motion offense. The Bruins are battle tested, throughout this year’s tournament, as well as this being the third straight year the Bruins have been in the Final Four, being eliminated by eventually back-to-back champion Florida Gators.

This game will be low scoring, close through-out, down the final possessions game and will come down to who will make the big time buckets down the stretch. I see the Tigers strength and balance to prevail.
The Pick: Take the Tigers, the points, and the outright win. MEM 66  UCLA 62

Brian – I am currently still in first place in my bracket and all the naysayers nipping at my heels have UNC as their champ.  My champ however is UCLA, so I am sticking with them no matter what to win this game and will be pulling hard from my couch. 

I am a little nervous though as Memphis looked GOOD against Texas, almost making it look easy at times.  Derrick Rose is the real deal and he took over whenever Memphis needed a key bucket early.  Besides Joey Dorsey being a freak of nature, Taggert (had a great game off the bench against TEX) and Dozier inside will be tough for Kevin Love to take on by himself. 

Darren Collison will need to step it up defensively on Rose and the combination of Mbah a Moute, Russell Westbrook and Josh Shipp need to contain CDR.  Take out one of Memphis’ big three (Dorsey, CDR or Rose) and its lights out for the Tigers. 
The Pick:
UCLA to win outright, Memphis’ horrific FT shooting finally catches up with them, in the biggest game of their season.  UCLA 78   MEM 71

Kansas vs North Carolina (-3 ) 8:47 PM

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Chris –  Roy Williams against his former school for the first time, two of the most talented teams in the nation are facing off on the biggest stage.

With these two powerhouses of college basketball facing off, look for this game to be more anti-climatic once it starts.

The Tar Heels with Ty Lawson just look unbeatable. With his dribble ability he can seemingly break any full court pressure on his own. Combine that with the excellent wingman Green and Ellington, as well as all-American Tyler Hansborugh on the inside, the all-around Tar Heel game will be too much for the Jayhawks.

This game is controlled by UNC pretty much from start to finish. Kansas might make things interesting in 2nd Half, but Williams and his talented gang will march onto Monday night’s title game to play for their second national title this decade. The Pick: Take the Heels at -2. UNC 78  KAN 70

Brian – As mentioned above, I am atop the leaderboard in my bracket with my buddies and everyone’s champ is UNC besides me.  So take a wild gander as to who I am pulling for in this one?  Thats right folks, the Kansas Jayhawks will prevail.  First of all, I think the most certainly can, and WILL win and here’s why. 

Almost every game in this tournament has been won or lost behind the 3 – point line.  Kansas is deadly from behind the arc, whereas UNC is mediocre at best, with no real threat from deep.  Kansas has the luxury of four great 3 point shooters in Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins.  Chalmers and Rush are straight deadly and if you leave Robinson or Collins open for a second, they will burn you. 

If the bigs for Kansas (Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun) can frustrate ‘Psycho T’ Tyler Hansbrough, we should be in for a thriller.  Another aspect I consider favorable for Kansas is that UNC relies way to much on very few players.  Besides Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Wayne Ellington, UNC doesnt have any legitimate scoring threats.  Every player in Kansas starting five and even well into their bench is capable of putting up 20 on any given night. 
The Pick: Kansas throws way too much depth at Pyscho T and  Ty Lawson.  Kansas gets hot from deep and wins outright.  KAN 84   UNC 79

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NCAA Tourney Talk: Midwest and South Regions

MIDWEST Region – Ford Field Detroit, MI
Davidson vs. Wisconsin (-5.5) 7:10
Sharp Shooter Eyes Badgers

Chris – Can Stephen Curry, who has dropped 70 points in Davidson’s first 2 games, continue the Wildcats magic carpet ride going? No. The physical, hard-nosed Badger led by perhaps the best defensive player in the country Michael Flowers, will keep Curry in check and look for the Badgers to cruise into the Elite 8 on Sunday.

Curry is the fourth-leading scorer in the nation at 25.7 points a game, and is first with 152 3-pointers. And he has willed Davidson to victory with memorable 2nd half performances against Gonzaga and Georgetown. The mighty Badgers however, allow only 53.9 points a game, best in the country, and have allowed only seven opponents to score more than 60 points. Don’t necessarily look for Davidson to be kept in the 60’s, but going to far over would be surprising. The Badgers strong defense and their unheralded, solid, balanced offense will prevail. Badgers cover easy.
The Pick: Badgers cover easy. WISC 76 DAV 63

Brian – UPSET SPECIAL. Sorry Badger fans, I am just not sold on Wisconsin yet. Yea they have some big guys, and yea they have a great defender in Flowers and a good coach in Bo Ryan but they play in the BIG TEN people.

Davidson has a great coach of their own in Bob McKillop and a phenomenal scorer in Stephen Curry (my MVP of the tourney so far). Davidson also has a very tough schedule throughout the year playing a lot of ACC and tobacco road teams. Everyone said that when Davidson beat Georgetown it wasn’t that big of an upset. Well why should this game be any different, Wisconsin and Georgetown are very similar in a lot of ways. In my mind Davidson is the underdog with the best chance of advancing to the Elite 8, so I am sticking with the Cinderella here and going out on a limb.
The Pick: Upset city here, Curry goes off for 27. DAV 74 WISC 68

Villanova vs. Kansas (-12.5) 9:40
Reynolds Ridin’ Dirtyyyy

Chris – Alright 215 fans, Friday night, prime-time main event, Wildcats vs. Jayhawks. Villanova is looking to pull the biggest upset in NCAA tourney history since… they knocked off Georgetown in ’85.

It’s not going to happen. Rock, chalk, Jayhawks will be sung all night as Brandon Rush, Darrel Arthur, and Darnell Jackson will be too strong inside. Villanova’s only stones throw of coming close a victory will be if Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher catch fire and combine to drop 60. Doubt that will happen, Nova’s unexpected run ends tonight in Detroit.
The Pick: Jayhawks cover. KAN 81 NOVA 61

Brian – Well sorry to say, the last Philly school will be bounced from the tourney tonight. Jay Wright has his kids playing great right now, but I just don’t think there is any way they can match up against Kansas, arguably THE most talented team in this tournament.

Dante Cunningham will have his work cut out for him with Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun inside.

Is Corey Stokes going to match up on Brandon Rush? Corey Fisher on Russel Robinson or Mario Chalmers?
The Pick:
The Jayhawks control the game from the beginning. Dante Cunningham gets in early foul trouble and Kansas takes huge advantage going on a big run. Villanova cannot get back into it and the Jayhawks move on. KAN 83 NOVA 67

SOUTH REGIONAL – Reliant Stadium Houston, TX
Stanford vs. Texas (-2) 7:10

Chris – On paper, this looks like the match-up of the night, the Cardinal who was runner-up in the Pac-10, and Texas the runner-up in the Big 12. I see Texas easily handling Stanford in this one as well.

Stanford does not come close to having enough offensive fire power to keep up with the high scoring Longhorns. Texas has more then enough size to handle the Lopez brothers with the 6-10 Connor Atchley and 6-10, 299-pound Dexter Pittman coming off the bench.
The Pick: A.J. Abrams, D.J. Augustin, Damion James will have no problem scoring as the Longhorns will look impressive with a double digit victory. TEX 77 STAN 59

Brian – I think the Lopez twins are overrated and bunch of losers. I see Texas taking over early and controlling the game the rest of the way. Damion James will blow by both of the Lopez stiffs and look for the Texas 2 step combo of AJ and DJ to straight up school the Stanford guards.
The Pick: Texas rolls. TEX 82 STAN 68

Michigan State vs. Memphis (-5) 9:57

We Be Ballin’ Yo

Chris – Probably the game of the night. After a closer then needed to be second round victory vs. Mississippi St, many are calling for the Spartan victory. The Tigers look vulnerable and every one knows of there free throw shooting deficiencies down the stretch.

Look for this game to be on the see-saw all night as Kalin Lucas and Drew Neitzel go basket for basket with Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts in company in a game that will come down the final possessions. The question is going to be will the Tigers horrendous FT shooting eliminate them 2 games earlier then they dreamed? The answer will be not tonight as the Tigers will be able to make free throws in clutch situations.
The Pick: Look for the Tigers to advance but Michigan State to cover. MEM 73 MSU 70

Brian – Tough game to pick here, I see this being one of the better games of the eve. Highly underrated Michigan State led by legendary coach Tom Izzo is playing great team basketball right now and have basically cruised through the first two rounds. Drew Neitzel has found his stroke again and looks sensational running the Spartan offense.

However, Memphis is loaded with NBA type talent in CDR, Derrick Rose (incredible first two rounds, averaging over 17 pts per), and Joey Dorsey will be on point. Like Chris said though, Memphis’s FT shooting is the worst in the Tournament by far (of the teams left). With all of these games being very close and competitive, it could be the Achilles heal for the Tigers.
The Pick: Derrick Rose and Joey Dorsey are too much to handle for the Neitzel, Izzo and the Spartans. Due to the poor FT shooting MSU covers however. MEM 78 MSU 74

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