2011 Final Four Previews

This is it my readers. It’s the games we have been waiting for since the start of the college basketball season. Before the season started, who would have guessed that Butler would return to the Final Four, and VCU and UCONN would join them? Before the tournament began, who thought a First Four team that most people thought didn’t deserve a bid would make it all the way to this point? Who though a team that barely made it past the Horizon League would put themselves into the Final Four? The answer to all of those above questions are “almost nobody”. But that’s what makes the tourney so exciting. You never know.

8 Butler and 11 VCU

The only game I had VCU winning in this entire tourney was that Purdue game. Anyway, since nobody wants to hear about my horrendous predicting skills, VCU really only won that Kansas game because Kansas had an uncharacteristically bad shooting game. VCU shot the ball really well, and that always equates to a win. What worries me about this VCU team is that Kansas still stuck around in that game to some extent.

Against Butler, that brand of basketball doesn’t work at all. See, Butler wins tight games and wins without having to shoot the ball really well. While they aren’t the juggernaut that Kansas is, they have a better defense and are the better tournament team. Nothing against Shaka Smart, but Brad Stevens is the better coach. Smart is good, but Stevens is one of the best in the business.

Matt Howard vs. Jamie Skeen should be a fun matchup to watch, and Joey Rodriguez is always a huge factor in games. Shelvin Mack and Ronald Nored will have to be on their bests. I think they will be, and Butler gets back into the Final Four. This time, they aren’t a Cinderella.

3 Connecticut and 4 Kentucky

Sorry Butler and VCU, but this is the game I am tuning in to watch. It features Jim Calhoun, Kemba Walker, Coach Calipari, and Brandon Knight. In my last game preview, I said that two keys for Kentucky were big games from DeAndre Liggins and Brandon Knight. I said that Knight would actually have to play well for the entire game. The star freshman showed up.

The truth is, it’s impossible to stop Kemba Walker. It took his former AAU coach’s gameplan in the Zona game to even slow him down. Liggins has the tough task of being among those that have to stop the best player in college basketball. Kentucky needs to slow down Walker, but they also need to put up some offense of their own.

Connecticut is tough, but Kentucky has shown that they are tougher. They need to show it, and they need to clamp down on Jeremy Lamb on the inside. Lamb is growing in confidence with every shot he takes, and he is becoming an underrated force down low. Josh Harrellson, this is your job. I have Kentucky winning this game by the slimmest of margins. This is such a difficult game to predict, which means it will be such a terrific game to watch.