Final Four Bracket 2012: Kentucky and Ohio State Will Win Final Four Rematches

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2012

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10:  William Buford #44 of the Ohio State Buckeyes loses the ball after it is knocked loose by Travis Releford #24 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game on December 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

One team will infuriate an inner-state rival by beating them a second time this season. Another team will atone for an early-season loss suffered without the star player suiting up.

For Kentucky and Ohio State, the Final Four isn't just about advancing to the championship game, as if that motivation wasn't enough. It runs deeper than that.

Kentucky's rematch comes against rival Louisville, a bash for bragging rights in Kentucky that will likely be talked about for years to come. Kentucky won the first meeting on December 31st, 69-62, despite a 30-point outburst from Louisville's Russ Smith.

Kentucky's ability to match Louisville's defensive intensity and force the Cardinals out of the lane will be key in this game. Louisville is not a very good jump-shooting team, shooting 42.5 percent from the field (225th in the nation) and a paltry 31.7 percent from three-point range.

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 31:  Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball while defended by Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats during 69-62 Wildcats victory at Rupp Arena on December 31, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The faster this game is played, the more it plays into the hands of Kentucky's superior athletes. Just ask Baylor how scary Kentucky can be in transition—the Wildcats rattled off a 16-0 run in the first half and never looked back.

This will be a physical, intense, and defensive affair, but Kentucky has too many weapons for Louisville to overcome.

Meanwhile, Ohio State looks to avenge a December 10th loss, 78-67, at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks. The odds were stacked against the Buckeyes in that game, as they played without All-American Jared Sullinger.

The battle between Sullinger and fellow All-American Thomas Robinson will be one of the most intriguing battles in college basketball this year. Each have posted similar numbers, with Robinson (17.9 PPG, 11.8 RPG) having the slight advantage in that regard over Sullinger (17.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG).

But this won't just be a matchup of two studs, oh no—Tyshawn Taylor has the ability to shoot Kansas to victory, and Ohio State can be led by either Deshaun Thomas or William Buford.

But c'mon—we all want to see Sullinger versus Robinson.

I like Ohio State in this one. While both teams have peaked at the right time this year, I think Ohio State is more talented and have faced stiffer competition both in league play and in the NCAA tournament.

But both of these games should be excellent, highly competitive affairs. A Final Four of rematches should be one to remember this year.


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