Those suggesting this will be the worst Final Four since the last worst Final Four are wrong.
Or at least confused.
Honestly, I think those people just have their words mixed up because both national semifinals are projected to be one-possession games, and I'm having a hard time figuring out what's so worst about that. I'm actually more excited about this Final Four than I was about last year's Final Four because last year I knew I was going to Detroit to do two things: Freeze and watch North Carolina win a national championship.
I have no idea.
My prediction -- which is worth about as much as Jessie James' wedding vows -- is West Virginia, but I could see Duke winning it, too. Butler just beat Syracuse and Kansas State, which means the Bulldogs are good enough to beat anybody remaining. And Tom Izzo is still Tom Izzo, last I heard. You're a bad thinker if you think he doesn't have a chance.
There's Bob Huggins trying to win the national title he probably would've won in 2000 if Kenyon Martin never broke that leg, and that Huggins is doing it in a windbreaker at his home-state school seven years after nearly dying from a heart attack makes it more interesting. Then there's Mike Krzyzewski trying to pass Bob Knight and tie Adolph Rupp with his fourth title, Michigan State trying to win one without its best player, and a Horizon League school based in Indianapolis in the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Freeman: Mazzulla one tough Mountie
Parrish: Final Four Look Ahead
SI.com: Izzo today's best, bar none
Edge breakdown: Michigan State-Butler
Edge breakdown: West Virginia-Duke
Worst Final Four ever?
Again, if you're thinking that way I think you've got your words mixed up.
You don't mean the worst Final Four.
What you mean is the most unusual Final Four.
It's absolutely that.
It's unusual in how none of the four participants -- Duke, West Virginia, Butler and Michigan State -- was ever ranked No. 1 during the regular season, and only Duke cracked the top five in recent weeks. There's just one outright regular-season conference champion (Butler), zero future NBA point guards, and no future NBA centers (unless some scout falls in love with Duke's Brian Zoubek). But I don't mean to single out the point guards and centers. Truth is, this Final Four is lacking future NBA players at nearly every position, proof being that DraftExpress.com projects only three participants as first-round selections in June's NBA Draft (provided they declare).
Butler's Gordon Hayward is slotted highest.
DraftExpress.com has him going 26th.
Which means there's no projected lottery picks in this Final Four, either. Consider, for comparative purposes, that the North Carolina roster that won last year's championship featured at least five future NBA players (Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Ed Davis), and that the 2008 title game between Kansas and Memphis had at least 10 (Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Joey Dorsey, Antonio Anderson, Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Darnell Jackson, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins). Like I said, unusual.
And where are the All-Americans?
There were two AP first-team All-Americans in the 2007 Final Four (Arron Afflalo, Greg Oden), three in 2008 (Chris Douglas-Roberts, Kevin Love, Hansbrough), one in 2009 (Hansbrough). In 2010, there are zero, which just so happens to be the same number of elite freshmen who will be on display. There is no John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors or Avery Bradley or Xavier Henry or Eric Bledsoe in this Final Four, and not a single team that relies heavily on freshmen or even a freshman.
The most relevant freshman in this Final Four: Duke's Mason Plumlee.
He averages 3.8 points.
He's scored a total of eight points in this NCAA tournament.
So if you want to call this Final Four unusual, that's fair, because it's absolutely that.
But what it's not is the worst Final Four ever.
I think people just have their words mixed up.