Monday, November 9, 2009
Pre-Season Final Four Predictions
I’m going to go on record with my Final Four predictions. As I wrote around tourney time last year, there are certain trends that I follow when I’m predicting who will make the Final Four. I always predict two teams from one conference and have one team that was there the previous year’s Final Four (The 2009 Teams were North Carolina, Michigan State, Connecticut, and Villanova). Without further ado, my predication's.
(Note All Rankings is current AP Rankings)
#1 Kansas (Big XII)
I know, real courageous with choosing the #1 team in the country. This team has tons of talent and Bill Self got over the stigma of being a bad big game coach by winning the title two years ago. Most of this team played last year and the additional recruits will have Kansas cruising to a Big XII title. The Texas and Mizzou games should be great to watch, Oklahoma is ranked, and Baylor keeps getting better; but I see this as Kansas’ conference. Another reason I am picking Kansas is because I have an irrational love of putting Kansas in my Final Four. I have done so every year since the Paul Pierce era until they won their title. A one year hiatus and they are back in my Final Four.
# 2 Michigan State (Big Ten)
Another courageous choice by me, picking the #2 team in the country following my choice of the #1 team. Michigan State is my choice from last year’s four to return. They bring practically everyone back from a championship game team. They might have played above their heads in beating Louisville and then UConn, but I think that’s cause Izzo is a great tournament coach. I see him getting this team back to the Final Four.
#7 Purdue (Big Ten)
I have been touting Purdue for a couple years now, but the starting five has been starting together since they were freshman. They had a sweet 16 team last year and lost to eventual Final Four Team UConn. They are disciplined and play good defense and with a healthy Hummel will be a tough team to beat. It’s time for Painter to start stepping out of Keady’s shadow with his first Final Four team.
#17 Louisville (Big East)
Louisville is an elite eight team from last year with good returning talent. Pitino is a fantastic coach and has had success taking teams to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville). The Pitino sex scandal storyline could follow the team around all season which could create a potential distraction. I know Kentucky is the popular choice from the bluegrass state, but the Cardinals are my choice.
Lastly, Indianapolis is a great location for the Final Four. Indiana is as basketball crazy as any state in the USA and Indianapolis is the heart of the state. Indy is home to the NCAA Hall of Fame. Now, they have a state of the art stadium in Lucas Oil Field that is apparently going to set all kinds of attendance records as well as provide and exciting atmosphere for all the big games. I was in Indy a week before one of their Final Fours and the city does a great job preparing for it. If my predictions come true, tickets will be hard to come by with in state Purdue, just over the border Louisville, and not that far away Michigan State fans gobbling up the tickets. Even Kansas isn’t an unbearable drive. I know I will personally be scouring the Internet to find good deals on tickets and try to attend the conclusion of the Madness that is March.