Early Final Four
Every year I have a group of people who ask me for my Final Four predictions very early. I used to watch a lot of NCAA basketball so I could make very good informed opinions very early in the season. I've watched a lot less NCAA basketball this year (mostly just Duke games) but that still won't keep me from predicting the Final 4.
I always make my predictions in early February, way before the brackets are released. That didn't change this year. I made my selections but because work has been so busy I haven't had a chance to jump on the computer and post themfor the world to see. Last year I predicted 3 of the 4 Final Four teams. Both teams in the finals, but selected Ohio State over Florida. I slavishly stick by my picks and I had predicted that Ohio State would win in the preseason and I feel like a loser if I dont stick by my picks.
With all that said here are my picks for the Final Four. Duke (big surprise), Georgetown, Kansas State and UCLA.
Duke plays great defense and is practically unbeatable when they are knocking down the outside shots. That plus they are 10 deep. If Zoubek can give them 10-15 minutes a game, at 7'1" he could be the size they have missed all season. Georgetown was in the Final Four last year. Although they lost their best overall player (Jeff Green) I still think they have the talent and experience to make a deep run. I also believe we havent seen the best that big man Roy Hibbert has to offer. I have a hunch he will be a game changer in the tournament and solidify his place as a lottery pick next year. Kansas State is the biggest surprise on this list. They are a fringe top 25 team, but they are a team that has one phenomenal talent Michael Beasley who can have what I always call the "Danny Manning effect" (or in this freshmans case the Carmelo Anthony effect). Beasley can absolutely take over the game. He has a very complete inside-outside game and is easily one of the best freshmen in the country. One who like Manning or Melo can put his whole team on his shoulders and carry them to a deep run. Again, just a hunch I'm having. The final pick of the four is the team that I think is the top team in the country... UCLA.
Top to bottom no team in the country comes close to the talent and athleticism of UCLA. I go gaga over teams that utilize multi-skilled big men, and UCLA has one of the best in the country, freshman Kevin Love. Love might be the NCAA player of the year and could be the person that takes this Final Four team from a year ago to the title. At least they are my pick. They have too many weapons (Love, Collison, Westbrook will all be starters in the NBA) and will be to tough to beat. UCLA will hoist the championship trophy at the end of March Madness.