By Lloyd Graff
I entered my cave over the weekend. Just me and my 60” TV. I watched 100 hours of college basketball if you include channel surfing and DVRing. I have emerged with a vision of the NCAA basketball tournament etched in my cerebellum. My thoughts.
People are obsessed with the brackets and the matchups. Forget about it. Worthy teams will get to the Final Four with the remote chance that an interloper like a James Madison (Baylor this year) will sneak in so they can be crushed in the semis.
The top seeds; Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, and Syracuse are strong, though I would have replaced Syracuse with Ohio State. It is a pity that Kansas and OSU are both in the Midwest region. With Georgetown a three seed and Maryland a four, the Midwest is so much better than other regionals it’s ridiculous.
The West regional is a layup for Syracuse who opens in Buffalo against Vermont and then probably gets the weakest Gonzaga team in a decade. They will have to beat a Kansas State team to reach the Final Four, a team of great athletes who can’t shoot a three-pointer.
The East regional has Kentucky facing an easy draw except for Bob Huggins’ West Virginia team, which is thuggy and mentally tough enough to beat John Calipari’s phenomenal freshmen. I love the Wildcats’ John Wall, not just because he’s a great talent. This kid has the quality of all amazing players. He will raise his game high enough to win. Evan Turner of Ohio State is my college MVP, but John Wall is the only superstar of 2010. Kentucky prevails.
In the South regional, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski must have traded his lifetime achievement award to get such a pathetic group of opponents. A fading Villanova as two seed and a fourth seeded Purdue squad without its best player Robbie Hummel, leaves only the three seed Baylor, which has finally recovered from one teammate murdering another in 2003, and the firing of Dave Bliss the most corrupt coach in the college game. I think they could derail the Dukies.
My Final Four predictions—Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, and Baylor. And despite an incredible performance by John Wall, in the final Kansas will beat Kentucky because Sherron Collins, its tenacious point guard, will somehow propel them to victory. Collins is the selfless leader who will give Jayhawks coach Bill Self the crown.