March Madness 2012 Predictions: Kentucky and 4 Other Elite 8 Locks
The calendar has hit the month of March and the madness is about to unfold right before our eyes. Two days removed from Selection Sunday and in the heart of Championship Week, we'll take a sneak peek at the five teams that will surely make it to the Elite 8.
Coach John Calipari has his Wildcats playing the best basketball of any team in the league right now. After going undefeated in regular season SEC play, Kentucky will look to keep its momentum going into the Big Dance.
Led by freshman standout and shot-blocking machine Anthony Davis, the young ‘Cats look virtually unbeatable right now. This group of young men will look to bring Coach Cal his first national title and this year seems like his best chance to do just that. Nobody will get in Kentucky’s way to Elite 8; look for them to cruise right through to the Regional Finals.
If it weren’t for the suspension of big-man Fab Melo back in January due to academic issues, Syracuse would probably still be undefeated. The Orange, behind coach Jim Boeheim, were the clear No. 1 before their upset loss to Notre Dame.
If Kentucky is No. 1, then Syracuse is No. 1a because a full Orange team is as good as any in the country, if not better, and will cause teams all sorts of trouble come tournament time. Syracuse is another team that should sail right into the Elite 8 untested behind an established head coach.
There seems to be a pattern here so far. Along with John Calipari and Jim Boeheim, UNC coach Roy Williams is no stranger to the Big Dance. Williams has captured two National Championships, both with the Tar Heels, and is one of the most respected coaches in all of college hoops.
The Heels, led by senior big-man Tyler Zeller and sophomore Harrison Barnes, got their revenge on Duke last weekend in a convincing fashion and appear to be the better team of the rivalry right now. With top-notch leadership and great team chemistry, the Heels seem poised for another title run.
Rock. Chock. Jayhawk.
It seems like every year now the Jayhawks are in the conversation for a national title. Bill Self has proven to be one of the best recruiters in all of college basketball as he keeps putting quality talent on the court after losing some to the NBA.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor and junior guard Thomas Robinson have really come into their own this year and have the Jayhawks on the verge of another postseason charge. Unless something drastic happens between now and Selection Sunday, Kansas should be another No. 1 seed and have another clear path to the Elite 8.
From the list of teams on this list, you would think this is a ranking of the nation’s top coaches. Tom Izzo’s squad also joins the conversation.
The Spartans are one of the toughest teams to play against because they wear you down methodically and grind out the game. They rarely play flashy with highlight reel dunks, but Izzo’s bunch is a tough group behind Brandon Wood and Draymond Green.
A loss to Ohio State last week showed that they are vulnerable, but the Buckeyes are another top-notch team and Sparty won’t have to face another team like that on their way to the Elite 8. The loss of freshman Branden Dawson will hurt, but pencil Michigan State in for yet another Elite 8 appearance.
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