On Tuesday, well-known sports writer and author John Feinstein posted on his blog that the 2011 NCAA Tournament's Final Four is broken up into two divisions: Underdog/good guy division (No. 8-seeded Bulter and No. 11 VCU) and not-so-good-guy/overdog division (No. 3 UConn and No. 4 Kentucky). Now, the author of the legendary college basketball book A Season On The Brink is right when he says, "the final will match a true Cinderella—and Butler is STILL Cinderella no matter how good it has become—against one school on probation and one that’s been there before coached by a guy who has twice been vacated. Talk about good vs. evil."
Feinstein's conclusion is basically this: Whomever comes out victorious between the Huskies (30-9) and Wildcats (29-8), who are set to tip off after Butler-VCU (approximately 8:49 p.m.) Saturday at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX, that team will easily be the villain in Monday night's championship game.
On Tuesday, I wrote a Kentucky basketball preview that pointed out that the Wildcats are basically the George Steinbrenners of college basketball. And, depending on who you speak too, that may not be a positive depiction of the Wildcats, who broke my nine-year old heart by beating the Syracuse Orangeman in the 1996 National Championship game.
On Wednesday, I wrote that the UConn basketball has always been a big rival of Syracuse, but I am going to cheer for them because a college basketball fan always roots for their teams conference -- from there, I hope that UConn chokes away another National Title (yeah, I know SU has choked away two of them).
Despite each program's flaws, I think that the matchup will be very entertaining. Both head coaches, Kentucky's John Calipari and UConn's Jim Calhoun, are masters of their craft. UK's freshman Brandon Knight is fun to watch, and so is (and this is the understatement of the year) UConn's Kemba Walker. Both teams are fairly young and talented, but that inexperience could lead to an exciting ending filled with possible Chris Weber-like blunders.
This nightcap may feature the two most talented teams remaining, but American will probably be watching and rooting for a team that they think Butler or VCU matches up better against because fans want to see the Cinderella finally complete a amaculous run. That somewhat unprecedented dynamic will be fun to watch late Saturday night.
Prediction: UConn and Walker just seem to be playing too well. Also, I just think the players are playing really hard for coach Calhoun, who has had a tough few personal years at UConn. Final score: UConn 67, Kentucky 60.