Final Four 2012 Predictions: 5 Players Ready to Explode in New Orleans
The Final Four is overflowing with star power as four of the giants of college basketball have reached the final weekend of the season.
Kentucky is essentially an NBA team, Ohio State has one of the best forwards in the nation, Kansas has multiple stars that will be in the NBA and Louisville has the best point guard remaining.
That means we are going to be treated with some of the best possible matchups, like Jared Sullinger vs. Thomas Robinson.
Who can we expect to shine the brightest?
Here are five guys that will have the biggest impact in New Orleans.
5. Peyton Siva: Louisville
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Siva is the Cardinals' only hope of surviving Kentucky.
His quickness is devastating on the fast break, and his penetration in the lane opens up shots for his teammates.
The Cardinals offense is certainly not the team's best asset, but if Siva is getting into the paint and finding open teammates, then this team is more than capable of beating Kentucky.
4. William Buford: Ohio State
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Sullinger may be in charge of the paint, but Buford is the senior leader that is the heart and soul of his team. The Toledo native averaged 14.7 points and 4.9 rebounds this season, but has struggled thus far in the postseason, shooting an ugly 13-of-44 from the floor.
Expect him to fix that on Saturday against a Kansas team that doesn’t have the defensive-oriented guards to contain him.
3. Tyshawn Taylor: Kansas
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Taylor is coming off a 22-point, six-rebound and five-steal performance, which was the big difference in the huge win over North Carolina.
After shooting 6-of-25 in the previous two games, he finally regained his stroke. Taylor’s ability to create his own shot off the dribble makes him the go-to guy for Kansas when the offense is struggling.
This is Taylor’s team and the Jayhawks will only go as far as he can take them.
2. Anthony Davis: Kentucky
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The status of Davis’ knee is going to be the main topic of conversation this week, as Davis is the best player remaining in the tourney.
The Freshman of the Year is a shot-blocking machine that alters seemingly every shot that comes his way. His presence alone forces teams to adjust their offensive philosophy, which ends up being a death wish.
Davis averages over 10 rebounds a game and uses his incredibly long arms to snatch down boards over smaller defenders.
I haven’t even mentioned his offensive game, which features some incredible footwork and a soft touch.
Kentucky will go as far as Davis takes them.
1. Jared Sullinger: Ohio State
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After sitting with a towel over his face a year ago after losing to Kentucky, Sullinger announced he had unfinished business at Ohio State and would return to school.
After a rather disappointing sophomore season, Sullinger has been at his best in March. He has scored an average of 20 points a game in his last three in the tournament.
His back-to-the-basket attack has been incredibly effective of late, and he is getting to the line early and often. Sullinger is 18-of-22 on free throws in the last two games, and that’s one of the major reasons the Buckeyes are still breathing.
He is the catalyst for everything the team does on defense, and has taken on a leadership role alongside Buford.
If Sully gets in foul trouble early, the Buckeyes are finished.