clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: UConn Vs. Arizona (West Region)

Kemba!, Kemba!, Kemba!... Add Jane Brady's annoying voice and a slow clap (actually, plug-in Gus Johnson's voice) and you have the Connecticut Huskies rally cry for the month of March. So far, that name has petrified opponents and has allowed the Huskies to string together an eight-game winning streak, which has propelled No. 3-seeded UConn (29-9) to its second Elite 8 appearance in three years -- in 2009, UConn lost to Michigan State, 82-73, in the national semifinals in Detroit, MI. The Huskies play No. 5 Arizona Wildcats on Saturday (7:05 p.m. on CBS).

During that eight-game span the junior guard and Bronx, NY native has averaged 27.1 points per game, including a 36-point performance Thursday night in a fourth-round, 82-73, victory over No. 2 San Diego St. Aztecs.

"He's just an amazing player," said Aztecs senior guard Billy White after Thursday's game. "Our goal was to try to contain him, you know, he's almost impossible to stop. Our goal was just to try to make him make tough shots and shoot over us and he did a real good job today penetrating the lane and shooting wide-open three's."

White's quote has pretty much been every opponent's response during the last 19 days, which also featured UConn winning five games in five days to earn the 2011 Big East Tournament title. During the past two-plus weeks, every opposing team enters a contest with the Huskies intending to stop No. 15, but just can't.

But 'Zona (30-7) may have the athletic superstar, sophomore forward Derrick Williams, that could at least match The Walker Show.

Also on Thursday night, Williams netted a game-best 32 points, 25 of those came in the first half, to help the Wildcats stun No. 1 Duke Blue Devils, 93-77. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward has been the quietest star in this year's NCAA Tournament.

"When you replay Arizona's Sweet 16 upset victory over Duke in your mind, one name stands out -- Derrick Williams," wrote Mike Schmitz of SB Nation's Arizona Desert Swarm. "And rightfully so. He took all of the highlight dunks and three-point swishes that made Arizona fans' jaws drop throughout the season and put all of it into overdrive, taking his game -- and the Wildcats -- to a newfound level."

During the Wildcats' three March Madness games, Williams is averaging 23.7 ppg and 10.7 rebounds per game.

Prediction: I hate to say this (even though I do like Mr. Barkley), but Sir Charles Barkley has been pretty much on point during the NCAA Tournament. He was a big critic of the Big East Conference, which earned record 11 NCAA Tournament invites but has only one team left, and was a big fan of the Wildcats before the tourney (I am sure there was no residential bias in that selection).

So, with that "credible' information I am going to pick Arizona to advance to their first Final Four since 2001. (Of course, this prediction is only made so I can continue to watch Kemba Walker).

More 2011 March Madness resources: Visit SB Nation's NCAA Tournament hub for up-to-date news and information … updated printable NCAA Tournament bracket.

-- Need more incite on UConn basketball? Visit SB Nation's The UConn Blog; while Arizona Desert Swarm has all the goods on Arizona basketball.