Welcome to the Final Four.
Congratulations to those of you who actually made prophesies and foresaw the right teams, and apologies to those of you who turned in another batch of worthless picks.
2012 has given us some especially good Final Four matchups, and for those of you who like a side of drama with your hoops, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Speaking of drama, let's look at the first of Saturday's two games:
No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville, New Orleans, LA
Saturday, March 31, 6:09 p.m., tip-off (coverage CBS/MML)
The Bluegrass State has never before been so divided.
In a state known for its thoroughbreds, bourbon and blonde-haired belles, Saturday will be all about battle-anthems and which fanbase has better fortified its position on Bourbon street in the hours leading up to tipoff.
Kentucky has played the role of big brother well this season, looking nearly invincible apart from two close regular-season losses to Indiana and Vanderbilt.
They're the type of NBA-ready team that Calipari is fabled for fielding year after year. They're also the type of team that Rick Pitino's Cardinals dream about taking down.
This Louisville squad is all about defense. They're absolutely frantic in terms of clogging up passing lanes and creating turnovers. They don't score very well, though, having averaged only 68.8 points per game all season long.
It's the tale of two polar opposite basketball teams going to war with the same end goal in mind.
If Louisville's Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng can incite a defensive riot in the opening minutes of the game and get under Anthony Davis' and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's equally-talented skin, then look for this to be a down-to-the-wire game with a frantic Ashley Judd covering her eyes courtside.
If not, and the Wildcats start scoring early, it could be Calipari's day to reign over Pitino and show him that Lexington is where the power truly lies.
This is arguably the biggest sporting event in the history of the state of Kentucky and a matchup that none of us will soon forget.
Now to the storm sweeping the Midwest:
No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 2 Ohio State, New Orleans, LA
Saturday, March 31, 8:49 p.m. tip-off (coverage CBS/MML)
There might be more bloodletting in the contest between Kentucky and Louisville, but don't think for a second that this won't be a physical meeting between the Buckeyes and the Jayhawks.
Bill Self's squad is coming in as a 2.5-point underdog to Thad Matta's Buckeyes, and if you're like these guys on the ESPN desk, you're probably wondering why exactly that is.
Tyshawn Thomas and Thomas Robinson may have had the Jayhawks in some too-close-for-comfort games in this year's tournament, but there is no denying how good the pair can be when they're on.
Robinson, especially, has the ability to take the game over at will and there's good reason why he's in the running for National Player of the Year.
Conversely, there's Jared Sullinger.
While he may be marquee name on Ohio State's roster, there has been a lot of talk of his regression in 2011-12. Good thing for Sullinger then, that teammate Deshaun Thomas has been having himself one of the best tournament performances of any player in the country.
But these are teams that live and die with their frontcourt.
There's no secret that the real battle will be waged inside, and based on how good Thomas Robinson has been, Jared Sullinger better be ready to step up and play the type of game that he is more than capable of playing to validate Ohio State's status as favorites heading into Saturday.
They will still be picking artillery shells off the floor from "Kentucky-geddon" when Ohio State and Kansas run out for warm-ups but it shouldn't be any less of a battle.
He who dominates the paint in this one will advance to face the victor of the Bluegrass battle come April 2nd.
2012 promises a Final Four for the books. There are no real sleepers to be found here. No Butlers, George Masons or VCU's this time around.
These are four real contenders fueled by a healthy diet of bad blood and determination.
Whichever teams survive this Saturday's elimination to advance on to the National Championship game will do so knowing that they've truly ran the gauntlet and will have little else to prove to themselves of the nation.
Here's to dancing on Bourbon street.
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