In my last post I identified a handful of teams that I felt would do well in the tournament and a few that I didn’t think would do so hot. With the exception of my analysis of Florida, Belmont, and Michigan State, I did pretty well with my predictions. Teams like UCLA and Vanderbilt missed the market. Teams like Marquette, Kansas, Ohio State and Connecticut made it much further into the tournament. As a matter of fact, Connecticut is still alive. However, if you were going to tell me that VCU and Butler were going to join the Huskies I would have said you were crazy.
1) VCU Rams – I’m not sure what to make of this team. They beat both Kansas and Purdue soundly which tells me that they have more poise than most teams. Their Coach Shaka Smart knows exactly what to say to his team to help them succeed. However, I wonder what happens to VCU when their magical run collides with the equally fantastic journey of the Butler Bulldogs. My gut tells me VCU, but my head tells me Butler. We’ll see on Saturday.
2) Butler Bulldogs – Brad Stevens is a great coach. That’s a fact now. Matt Howard and Sheldon Mack form a terrific duo that can run with any team in the country. I like that the Bulldogs know how to play good defense when it counts. I think the only thing that might stop this team’s momentum would be an injury. However I don’t think that they’ll win a championship. Both Houston and Michigan went to the championship game two years in a row and lost both games. That’s about to happen to Butler too.
3) Kentucky Wildcats – I don’t know much about this team because they don’t have John Wall anymore, but they do have another dynamic John in their Coach, John Calipari. He knows how to win and that’s what matters on this stage. Will he get a championship this year? If they can get through the Huskies, I say yes.
4) UConn Huskies – They’ve already beat one pack of Wildcats and I think they can do it again. Kemba Walker is without a doubt the best player remaining in the tournament. With the support he’s been getting from Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriaki, I think the Huskies could make the title game. Jim Calhoun has two rings too, which helps. The nice thing for them is that freshman-laden Kentucky is no more experienced than they are. They’re the only team that controls their destiny right now and that’s a good spot to be in.