Final Four 2012: Tournament Won't Suffer from Absence of Cinderella Story
This year's Final Four field look's a little different from last year's, when VCU shocked the nation by advancing to college basketball's biggest stage along with the name-brand teams.
But this year's tournament won't be any less exciting to watch.
For one thing, it's never boring to watch the NCAA's best teams battle it out for supremacy. Some of college basketball's finest talent will be on display this weekend in New Orleans, and that is always a treat to watch.
Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are bound to be the stars of this year's NBA Draft, so perhaps this is our only chance to see them hunt for an NCAA tournament title.
Davis suffered an injury scare when he banged his knee in Kentucky's win over Baylor in the Elite 8 last weekend but, despite having to be treated in the locker room, refused to be kept out of the game.
Meanwhile, Kidd-Gilchrist took over the game in his absence.
Kansas's roster features the only unanimous all-AP selection in Thomas Robinson, who leads the Jayhawks with 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Against NC State in the Sweet 16, he scored 18 and had 15 rebounds, and teammate Jeff Withey registered 10 blocks, one shy of the NCAA tournament record.
There is no team that is truly over-matched in this year's field—but the closest thing to an underdog is Louisville.
The team surprised the NCAA committee with a win in this year's Big East tournament, then kept surprising the nation with a run to the Final Four, despite not having a single AP first-team selection on its roster.
Pitino helped the Wildcats win a national championship in 1996, left for a largely unsuccessful head coaching campaign in the NBA and returned to the college stage to lead in-state rival Louisville.
There will be plenty of drama to go around there—no need for a Cinderella.
Then, there is Ohio State, who has been gunning to prove it deserved a No. 1 seed ever since pretending they were happy with its seeding on national TV during Selection Sunday's grand unveiling. The Buckeyes were just hours removed from a Big Ten championship loss to Michigan State, which received the top seed Ohio State wanted.
After proving itself by knocking off No. 1-seeded Syracuse in the Elite 8, the Buckeyes get to face the Jayhawks for the first time since suffering a 78-67 loss at Allen Fieldhouse in early December.
Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor was playing with a torn meniscus and a sprained MCL in his right knee and tallied a career-high 13 assists, while the Buckeyes' Jared Sullinger was scratched just before game time with a back injury.
Now, with its best player back in action, can Ohio State avenge the loss and get one step closer to cutting down the nets next Monday?
There will be plenty of drama to go around this weekend—no glass slipper is needed.
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