The Final Four is set. Duke, West Virginia, Butler, and Michigan State will be convening in Indianapolis, Indiana, next Saturday to decide who plays for the championship on Monday.
Just a few quick thoughts.
Duke showed that they are better than people think in winning the last four games using senior leadership, toughness, and a combination of good low post players and seasoned guards. Senior Guard Jon Scheyer is one of the most underrated players to play at Duke since Carlos Boozer, and junior guard Nolan Smith provides timely scoring along with nasty defensive lockdown. Brian Zoubek is not much, but he is a fiery leader who rebounds and defends the way many Duke big men have in the past. Duke is a solid team that deserves to be in the final four once again.
John Denver's mythic squad has been one of the most impressive teams in the tournament. They beat Kentucky to advance to the final four on Saturday night, and Da'Sean Butler showed America why he is one of the best players in the country. His silky smooth long range game and inside game are extremely tough to defend for anybody. Dub-V does not have many "name" guys, but they all fit perfect roles. Coach Bob Huggins provides a tough 1-3-1 zone that gives opposing offenses problems, and the game against Duke this Saturday should be stellar.
On the other side of the bracket, Michigan State will play hometown team Butler.
Head coach Tom Izzo has now taken Sparty to 6 Final Four's in 12 years. The Spartans have relied on players like Durrell Summers and Draymond Green to make up for the absence of the injured guard Kalin Lucas to roll into the Final Four. Their win over Tennessee showed heart and toughness, and when Izzo is directing the troops he is worth eight points a game by himself. These Spartans have exceeded everybody's expectations.
Butler is playing the Final Four only seven miles away from their campus. They should have a major following the crowd on Saturday night, and that can play a major role in the game. Head coach Brad Stevens is only 33, but he is leading a mid-major into the Final Four for the first time since 2006. His guards have been playing spectacular basketball as of late, and the grit and toughness they showed against Syracuse and Kansas State showed me they can beat Michigan State.
We are looking at two great match-ups on Saturday night. I believe we will see West Virginia play Butler in the least rated NCAA Championship game ever. That's a shame because it should be one hell of a show to watch.