“March Madness-April Ending”
This will be a very different weekend from what we have seen in years gone by.
This NCAA Final 4-War will be all about coaches, game plans, defense, veteran players and grit.
We won’t be talking about ‘1-and-Done’…shoe companies…or slush-fund-academic scandals.
In a most unlikely month of March, we didn’t have that many Cindarellas. We hardly has any upsets.
We did have 3-of the #1-seeds in the 4-regions sent home.
No Duke. No Coach K. No Zion Williamson. No how many of his kids are filing for the draft. They can watch at home with John Calipuri, Roy Williams, Bill Self and a host of others.
Come Saturday, this will be about Xs and Os…matchups…defenses…3-point shooters and old school basketball.
Virginia plays Auburn in what will be a test of style. UVA just grinds you down. Every opponent possession is like life and death, so hard to score against the Cavaliers. Texas Tech wants to dictate tempo, push the ball, shoot lots of threes.
Bruce Pearl and Tony Bennett are at opposite ends of the personality spectrum. Pearl, flamboyant, in his Orange Ties, with guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, and a team that hit 318-shots behind the arc. But they force alot of turnovers too, which is why they run so much.
Tony Bennett demands you play tough at one of the floor, and you play disciplined once you have the ball, yet he’s got shooters in Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome and DJ Harper. You can’t win if you can’t score and the Cavs hold people to 41% shooting in the tourney. And Bennett has had 6-days to prepare for this.
Auburn is no fluke. You don’t get here if you don’t beat Kansas-North Carolina and then Kentucky. They earned this.
Michigan State-Texas Tech is a test of wills. Both teams will beat you up with an in your face defense. These two teams will bang bodies in an endurance test. Somebody might not score 50-in this semifinal game.
Tom Izzo is on a mission, to win his 2nd NCAA title, though he has been part of Final 4-weekends forever coming out of East Lansing.
Chris Beard is now a known commodity for how rugged his defenders are inside and out are with the Red Raiders.
The Spartans can be dynamic with freshman Aaron Harper and his big game ability and with a pretty good inside contingent of Xavier Tillman and Nick Ward.
The Red Raiders go as Jarrett Culver and Cassius Winter go, and they will go get it done inside. Somebody will pound it into the paint, and bet someone gets punched in the paint.
Tech won 3-blowout games, then choked away Gonzaga’s offense in a stunning display of mean street basketball in the tourney..
The Spartans have reeled off a (14-1) spurt including sending Duke home early.
Who wins. I pick Virginia’s style to take out Auburn’s sizzle. I think Izzo’s lifetime of experience is huge against the upstart Beard.
Come Monday night, Thomas Jefferson would be proud. Picking UVA to win over Michigan State in a street fight.