BRACKET BLOG: Final Four

Not exactly the four teams CBS was hoping for...

We come to it at last: CBS' worst nightmare of a Final Four. Expect the network to over-hype Butler's return home, Tom Izzo's unlikeliest Final Four team yet, Duke's long-awaited (and long-overdue) return to the last weekend and perhaps Bob Huggins' last, best chance at an elusive national championship, the one thing still lacking from his resume.

Diehard basketball fans such as me still will be watching with great interest, even though K-State came thisclose to being there and fell short. Casual fans? Well, with their brackets in shambles, it's anyone's guess. But as I point out after the jump, there's one final pairing that actually might hold great appeal for the wider viewing public...

Previous Entries:

The Teams

 

The Site

  • Indianapolis, Ind.

 

The Games

No. 1 Duke (33-5) vs. No. 2 West Virginia (31-6)
April 3 | 7:47 p.m. | Indianapolis

How They Got Here:
No. 1 Duke 78, No. 3 Baylor 71
No. 2 West Virginia 73, No. 1 Kentucky 66

OK, I'm doing away with the upset alerts, because every one of these four teams won at least three tough games to get to Indy. There will be no more upsets — just teams that want it more.

Right about the time that West Virginia put the finishing touches on its "upset" of Kentucky, I realized Baylor (and by extension, my bracket) was screwed, because at least one No. 1 seed usually makes it to the Final Four.

Go figure that it would be Duke, the one team nobody thought deserved the top seed line.

Given that logic, I find it hard to bet against Coach K now. Oh, sure, West Virginia's the sentimental favorite for everyone, me included, and probably the betting favorite, too.

But don't let the Mountaineers' flurry of 3s against the Wildcats fool you. This is unprecedented March success for Bob Huggins, a excellent coach whose teams never quite perform to expectations in the NCAA Tournament, for some reason.

As much as I hope he finds some more success, I've got a sneaking suspicion that he won't. Bloody Duke.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Duke 67, West Virginia 62
Sagarin: Duke 64, West Virginia 62

 

No. 5 Butler (32-4) vs. No. 5 Michigan State (28-8)
April 3 | 5:07 p.m. | Indianapolis

How They Got Here:
No. 5 Butler 63, No. 2 Kansas State 56
No. 5 Michigan State 70, No. 6 Tennessee 69

The upset wouldn't be Butler over Michigan State. It would be Michigan State over Butler.

Butler is by far the better team this year. Michigan State didn't have to play the 1 or 2 seeds in its region, either of which could have destroyed the Spartans without Kalin Lucas available.

Butler blew through both its 1 and 2 seeds in dominating defensive fashion. They already play a brand of Big Ten basketball, meaning the Bulldogs are well equipped to beat Tom Izzo at his own boring game. They're UNI on crack.

I'll make a few bold predictions. First, Butler's pattern of holding teams under 60 will continue. Second, the over/under on the number of times we hear about the "home" crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium (which, by the way, I factored into the Sagarin calculation, yielding a wide margin of victory) is about 30, and I'll bet the over.

Finally, a Butler-Duke final could be the most watched in NCAA history. Cinderella versus the bluest of the bluebloods?

Yes, please. And I'll have seconds.

GAMER: no predicted score
KenPom: Butler 64, Michigan State 62
Sagarin: Butler 63, Michigan State 58

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