The final 4 is set, and we couldn't ask for two better matchups. We have one of the best rivalries in all of college hoops as Louisville matches up with state rival Kentucky in one game, and in the other matchup, we have two of the best big men in the country on the floor, as Ohio State and Jared Sullinger take on Thomas Robinson and Kansas.
My early thoughts? Despite the magical run U of L is on, UK just has too much talent for the Cards. Peyton Silva will have to play out of his mind to keep his team close. I know the teams played once and Louisville hung with the Cats in Lexington, and I know U of L is playing its best ball of the season, but UK is simply on another level. The Cats look like the most dominant tournament team in years. Since I've followed Ncaa hoops (around 2001) the only team that comes to mind that has dominated like this Kentucky team is the 09 Tar Heels, and even they might night be THIS dominant. The Cats are scoring at such a high level, defending like crazy, and sharing the ball like a bunch of seniors who have nothing to lose. That's scary that Coach Cal has this group of mostly freshman and sophomores playing that well, and that unselfishly. All week the young Cats will hear about how this Louisville team is following the steps of UCONN last year. They will show the country the Cards are not the same team. UK wins 76-65.
(One side note to know: In Coach Cal's first 2 years at Kentucky, he has been eliminated in the NCAA's by the Big East's tournament champ, WVU 10, UConn 11)
NBA scouts will be salivating over the second matchup Saturday night. Earlier in the year, the nation was robbed as Jared Sullinger missed the Buckeyes marquee non conference matchup with Kansas due to injury. Now we all get what we wanted. Sully vs T-Rob. Maybe the nations two best offensive big men will be going one on one all night, and quite frankly I can't wait. While that will be great entertainment, the two key players in my eyes are Aaron Craft and Tyshawn Taylor. Who ever plays better between those two will give their team a great chance to win. I'll take Craft any day of the week over Taylor. The OSU Sophomore is one of the best perimeter defenders in all of college hoops, and will be a major challenge to the Jayhawk guards all night long. Expect him to have a big game. This game has the potential to be one of the better games in the 2012 NCAA tournament, I'll take the Buckeyes 73-70.