Final Four 2012: Early Bold Predictions for Rest of March Madness
Through the Sweet 16, the 2012 NCAA bracket now enters the Elite Eight. Through four rounds of basketball, these are my bold predictions for the rest of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
The Sweet 16 provided us with chills and thrills, with a few games coming down to the wire, while Kentucky vanquished its demons by beating Indiana.
We've finally seen the first game go to overtime in this tournament, with No. 1 North Carolina being challenged by No. 13 Ohio, but all three remaining Cinderellas went down in the Sweet 16.
Now, as we enter the Elite Eight, there are only great teams left, and some would call them...well...elite.
These are bold predictions for the rest of this year's tourney.
We Will Not See Another Overtime Game
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We've only seen one overtime game during this year's tournament, but that will be it. For the rest of the games there is a noticeable difference between the skill levels, and it is unlikely that any of them will go to overtime.
While overtime is part of what makes March Madness special, the only game that goes to overtime in this year's tournament will have been North Carolina vs. Ohio.
Louisville Will Disrupt Florida's Offense
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Florida is the lowest-seeded team left in the NCAA tournament. The Gators don't have a great frontcourt, and their reliance on their excellent backcourt has led to them having a streaky offense.
Louisville has been playing terrific defense as of late, including holding Michigan State to under 45 points in the Sweet 16.
Louisville can utilize its guards to disrupt the shots and driving ability of Florida's guards, which makes a dangerous team very vulnerable.
Florida won't be able to beat Rick Pitino's suffocating defense, and the Gators will be leaving after the Elite Eight, just missing out on a Final Four trip.
Wrist Injuries Will Be the End of North Carolina
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John Henson entered the NCAA tournament with an unknown status due to a sprained wrist, and he missed North Carolina's first game.
When Henson came back against No. 8 Creighton, North Carolina lost point guard Kendall Marshall to a fractured wrist.
This team has already been depleted at guard with Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald both being out for the season, and now Marshall's injury is a finishing blow.
With a freshman at point guard, North Carolina will not be able to beat Kansas. This team has a great frontcourt, but relying on Stilman White and Justin Watts to lead them will come back to haunt them against a talented senior point guard like Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas.
UNC's Final Four hopes will be dashed by Kansas.
Kentucky Will Not Win It All
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Kentucky is arguably the most talented team in history, but they will not win it all. While they did conquer their demons by beating Indiana, this team will not win it all.
A lack of experience from several key players such as Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, this team will meet its doom in the finals of the tournament.
Teague is the weak point of this team, and when he plays against this next team in the Final Four, he will be completely shut down.
Ohio State Will Win It All
Ohio State is peaking at the right time, and they are going to win it all this year.
Jared Sullinger is an unstoppable force inside, and it is almost impossible to stop him from getting a double-double every night. William Buford is the team's X-factor, and he is playing up to his potential. Aaron Craft is playing well too, and he had one of the best games of his career against Kansas State.
What makes this team special is forward Deshaun Thomas, who is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 25.0 points per game in the 2012 NCAA tournament.
This team will beat Syracuse because of the Orange's inability to stop Sullinger and Thomas inside, and then they will meet Kansas. Syracuse also has great guards, which will be able to stop Tyshawn Taylor, which is the key to beating this team.
The Buckeyes will then play Kentucky in the finals, and they will have Aaron Craft shut down Marquis Teague. This, in turn, will lead to a championship for Ohio State.