My heart goes out to Kansas fans. The Jayhawks were clearly the best team coming into this tournament, and were clearly the favorite to win it all, but played their worst game of the year at the worst possible time; contrastly VCU continues to be the most consistent and aggresive team of the tournament and I'm convinced they can beat anyone, anytime, and any place. They don't have superstars, but they do have a complete team that works well together and has a knack for ripping the heart out of opposing teams. They are on a magical ride that may land them their first ever NCAA National Championship. If there is such thing as destiny, then VCU is the picture in the dictionary right next to the word.
In order for VCU to win the big dance, they have to go through Butler, yet another team that if you had them going to final 4 last year it wouldn't have been a total surprise, but if you picked them this year, you would've said that's crazy and downright stupid. I mean an 8 seed that many picked to lose to Old Dominion in the first game and almost did, had Matt Howard not tipped that ball in in the closing seconds. Then they beat #1 seed Pittsburgh on a last second questionable foul call on Matt Howard after Pitt failed to hit a foul shot that would have won the game for them, that ending left Pitt fans stunned and bewildered, but left Butler fans believing the magic is still alive. Butler is a strong team all-around despite their lack of size, which is highly overrated, especially the way Butler out-hustles and out-shoots most of their opponents. VCU will be a huge test for them and it could be and should be a great game.
The other side of the bracket sees two teams quite accustomed to being amongst the last 4 teams standing. UCONN and Kentucky were supposed to make good runs this year, but they couldn't possibly get by the teams seeded higher, right? Wrong. Kentucky had to battle with Princeton in their first tournament game and almost came up short, but they perservered through a bad shooting performance by Brandon Knight who was 1 for 7 from the fied, However, it was that 1 shot that he made that won the game for Kentucky and left Kentucky fans breathing a huge sigh of relief. Then they beat West Virginia and battled with #1 overall seed Ohio State, which was quite possibly one of the best games of this entire tournament from a defensive standpoint. Kentucky had to play a flawless defensive game to beat the Big 10 powerhouse and they did by forcing Ohio State to take three pointers they didn't want to take and keeping them from getting too far ahead at anytime during the game, and pulling it out at the end. They beat North Carolina by out hustling them and being deadly from three point range. Kentucky was 12 for 22 from beyond the arc and Brandon Knight was 5 for 11. Contrastly, North Carolina was a dismal 3 for16, mostly due to Kentucky challenging them on almost all of their three point opportunities. Arguably, the best defensive team of the four remaining is Kentucky; it's just a matter of them keeping that tenacity and outmatching their opponents tenacity.
UCONN didn't really have to face much adversity until they played Arizona this past weekend. They had little trouble in beating their first three foes, Bucknell, Cincinatti, and San Diego State, but Arizona was a team that was feeling a little magical after beating Texas in a weird ending game that in the matter of a 12 second span had them exiting the tournament to moving on to the next round, thanks to some questionable calls by the refs, but hey, that's what March Madness is all about; you put yourself in those positions to win or lose games, so you have to live with the outcome. UCONN had to watch Arizona miss two three-point opportunites at the end of regulation that would have sealed their fate, but Arizona failed to convert them. UCONN is led be Kemba Walker who is averaging a ridiculous 26.8 points per game and is shooting 92% from the free-throw line (33 for 36) quite gawdy and well-deserved MVP-Type numbers , but in my opinion the MVP of this tournament so far is Jeremy Lamb, although he might not get it, because he's a freshman, this kid has ice in his veins and has calmly hit a lot of key shots in games where if he doesn't make those shots this team would have been another Big East casualty. This kid is 27 for 46 from the field (59%) and 11 for 15 from 3-point land (73%) and is averaging 18.3 points per game; this kid is a Freshman and is shooting lights out. Don't get me wrong Kemba's a great player in his own right, but without this kid UCONN is not getting this far in the tournament.
So While, there are 2 teams that very few expected, and 2 teams that many said had a good chance of getting to the Final 4, there will be two standing on Monady, April 4th, and in my opinion it will be Kentucky and Butler, and don't ask me why, it's clearly a guess at this point, because my bracket is lying in shambles right now after hours and hours of research through each game only to have my final four go down one by one each day this weekend, you see I had Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, and Florida and it saw me go from first to crap in my office pool. So, I'm going Kentucky vs. Butler, with Kentucky winning it all, if for no other reason then good kharma.