NCAA Tournament: UCLA All the Way?

Joel KochSenior Analyst IApril 4, 2008

When the brackets were first announced, you can say I was a little irked.

The Illinois State Redbirds, a team I thought deserved an at-large bid, didn't go to the dance. Somehow, the selection committee felt that Baylor, Kentucky and Villanova deserved to go over the Redbirds, even though the Redbirds had a better overall record, a better conference record, and oh yeah, a better RPI.

Why were they gypped? Because the Redbirds don't play in a power conference.

That snub led my brackets to be somewhat biased. I had Nova, Baylor and Kentucky all losing in the first round along with Georgia (who shouldn't have gone, even though they won their conference tournament).

I was right in three of the four games. That was about as close as I got to a good bracket. I went 25-7 in the first round, and then my bracket took a nose dive.

It didn't help that Tennessee beat Butler (who I had in the Final Four) and that Purdue didn't beat Xavier and go on to the Elite Eight like I had them doing, but I digress.

I am here to give you a run down of my NEW predictions (since only one of my Final Four teams, UCLA, is still in it) for the Final Four and the championship game.

First, here is who is playing who: University of North Carolina Tarheels is against the University of Kansas Jayhawks, and the University of Memphis Tigers face off against the University of California at Los Angeles Bruins. This is the first time that all four number one seeds made the Final Four.

Now, who will win each game and eventually the National Title? Here we go!


Who's playing? UNC vs Kansas.

Who's going to win? Kansas, hitting the game winning shot with 2.3 seconds left.

What's the final score? 66-65.

: This is probably the hardest one to determine. Kansas and UNC are both on my list of teams that I don't like.

I dislike UNC for beating Illinois,, in 2005 and Kansas because of Bill Self, but for this game, I had to get past both hatreds.

This game is going to be close throughout its entirety. No team will dominate, I promise you that. The Tarheels have a very good starting five and a lot of depth on the bench. The same can be said for Kansas.

Here's the key to the game: Hansbrough.

If Kansas can contain Hansbrough, they'll win. Most UNC fans say that Hansbrough is not the key cog to the team, but they're completely wrong. He runs this team and he keeps them going.

He wants to one up everyone on his team so they'll one up him and they can keep the points, rebounds, steals, and the kitchen sink coming. If you can contain him, you contain the Tarheels. The team won't be able to one up him, leading to down offense and possibly defense.

That's when Kansas will need to capitalize, and I think they'll do it. They'll contain Hansbrough and then capitalize on the weakened morale. As said though, Kansas will trip down the stretch and will make a two to take the lead with just over two seconds left in the game.

Who's playing? Memphis and UCLA.

Who's going to win? UCLA.

What's the final score? 76-58.

Explanation: UCLA is my prediction to win it all and have been since the brackets were announced.

UCLA has Collison and Love to dominate Memphis, along with a lot of other talented players to compliment to two key cogs to this team.

Memphis is good, but they can't overcome UCLA. Not much to say about this game other than the following two words: Kevin Love.



Who's playing? Kansas and UCLA.

Who's going to win? UCLA.

What's the final score? 78-76.

Explanation: This will be a really good game. Kansas is a talented team with a lot of weapons. The same can be said for UCLA.

The only thing you have to consider is the big men: Kevin Love or Sasha Kahn? And folks, the answer gives all the love to Love.

Love will play a huge part in this game to show that he is for real and will then turn pro. This will be a battle all game long with each team having multiple leads, with the biggest lead for each team being eight for UCLA and six for Kansas.

When it finishes though, Love will be holding up the trophy, and Bill Self will be holding up the line at the airport.


So, there's my rundown for the San Antonio game. I hope to hear from all of you readers with comments so we can have a nice debate. Remember the first game of the Final Four is at 6 p.m. eastern tomorrow, Saturday, 4/5.