Final Four: Kansas Jayhawks and Memphis Tigers Win Big

John LewisSenior Writer IApril 6, 2008

Okay, who picked Kansas and Memphis to win big and play in the finals?  I know I didn't, but I wasn't surprised to see the result.

Just look at each roster. They are filled with upperclassmen.  Kansas has two seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup and Memphis has one senior and three juniors on the court.  This brings leadership to the college ranks, which have so few key four-year players.

Up by 28 points, Kansas almost let the lead slip away.  North Carolina got to within five points with nine minutes to play. 

But leadership and experience took over and stopped penetration inside.

Junior guard Brandon Rush had 25 points and seven rebounds to make a statement for the underdog Jayhawks.  He also stopped Ty Lawson from getting the ball up and down the court with authority. 

So was this the last time we will see Tyler Hansbrough in a North Carolina uniform? 

The AP player of the year scored five points below his season average (not that it made a difference) and he didn't get a chance to establish any presence.

Along with the defense on Hansbrough, Kansas held the Heels to 35 percent shooting from the field and 20 percent from the three-point line—something Carolina isn't used to. 

The earlier game saw the UCLA defense give up 53 points to Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts. They didn't have an answer for the fast paced game. 

Freshman Kevin Love had trouble setting the tone inside, as senior Joey Dorsey kept him out of the middle.  Love only managed 12 points on 4-11 shooting.  Dorsey also established presence in the paint with 15 rebounds.

The Conference USA champs took a three-point lead at the half and never looked back.  Rose scored 14 second half points and Douglas-Roberts added 15 as Memphis won by two.

Memphis coach John Calipari has his team believing that no one thinks they can win.  His us-against-the-world mentality has the Tigers ready to cap off a dream season.  Now having won the most games in a single season, they want just one more.

For the championship game, Memphis will need to find a way to put points on the board against a Kansas team that is only allowing 59 points per game in the NCAA tournament.

My prediction is Memphis by seven in a 70-63 game.