Kentucky NCAA Tournament Favorite
The Final 4 of college basketball for 2012 is almost upon us. The champions of each of the 4 regions are set to play this weekend. It's Kentucky versus Louisville, and Ohio State versus Kansas. Although all 4 teams are very good, seeing as they all got this far, there's one prohibitive favorite. The ranking of the other 3 teams is up for debate.
Hands down, unless you’re a fan of one of the other 3 teams still left, you have to admit that Kentucky is the best time in college basketball this year. Now they may not win the title, because anything can happen in one game, but I'd be very surprised if they were to lose. They have the best player in the nation, freshman Anthony Davis. He's the favorite to be the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. He's a monster on defense, and already set the Southeastern Conference in blocked shots as a freshman.
He's joined by fellow freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who some NBA scouts are predicting will be the #2 pick in the upcoming draft. Combine them with possible first round draft pick Terrance Jones and sophomore guard Doron Lamb and Kentucky easily has the most talent of any team in the country. The only knock against them is they are a young team. The majority of their impact players are freshmen and sophomores. However, I think talent outweighs youth in this case.
#2 Ohio State
I believe that Ohio State is the second best team in the 2012 Final Four. They have first team All-American sophomore Jared Sullinger, who bypassed the NBA Draft last year to return to school. Sullinger is a very effective post player, although he does play below the rim. He's able to use his body well, and can shield off taller defenders to get his shot off. They also have sophomore point guard Aaron Craft. Craft has been described by many as the best on ball defender in college basketball. I would agree, his instincts are very impressive, and he also has very quick feet and hands. They also have sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas, who was second on the team with 15.4 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. He really came on toward the end of the season. Ohio State is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and I think that'll cause problems for Kansas.
I think Kansas is a very good team, who will give Ohio State a great game. I just can't get over the fact that they should have lost to Purdue in what's now called the third round. Purdue outplayed them the entire game, but basically gave it away at the end. I know anything can happen in a game, and maybe I'm putting too much weight into this, but that just sticks with me. Kansas is led by first team All-American Thomas Robinson, who has become one of the best players in the nation this year. However, he had difficulties guarding Purdue's Robbie Hummel, and I think Ohio State could cause similar problems. Senior Tyshawn Taylor will have his hands full, with Aaron Craft guarding him all game. Both teams had a letdown in the tournament last year, but I think Ohio State is the team that prevails here.
To be honest, I'm a little in the dark about Louisville. They don't really have any star players, which seems kind of odd, since coach Rick Pitino is a great recruiter. Well, obviously what he did works, since they made it to the Final Four. Most people are probably down on Louisville, because they went through a rough stretch to end the season, losing 4 of their last 7. They rebounded by winning the Big East tournament, but I think some people already had their minds made up about this team. Their leading scorer on the year was Kyle Kuric at 12.7 PPG, followed by Russ Smith at 11.6. Their numbers don't jump out at you, but they did beat #1 seed Michigan State, followed by Florida. There's also the fact that they have to face the overwhelming favorite in Kentucky.
I think Kentucky beats Ohio State to win the NCAA Championship, with the game being close early and Kentucky pulling away in the second half. They have 2 of the best players in the country, who are both freshman, and I think that talent wins out this year.
Please feel free to comment and tell me why I'm completely wrong. This is just my opinion, what do you think?