Final Four and Championship Predictions…
My 2009 NCAA Tournament Final Four Seeding
1 – Louisville, 2 – Oklahoma, 3 – Duke, 4 – Memphis
Down to 4 in Detroit. In the East vs. South matchup, Duke matches up with Oklahoma. Again, Duke faces a tough challenge in size vs. speed. Blake Griffin, against the Dukies, will likely have 25 points and 20 rebounds. Duke has no inside presence to even contend with Oklahoma’s All-American. Duke’s only chance in this game is to absolutely shoot the lights out and somewhat contain Griffin and make any other Sooner beat them. And as much as I love Duke, I just can’t honestly take them here. Oklahoma has a lot of guard firepower and Blake Griffin will be just too much to handle. I like the Sooners here, 86-78.
Across the bracket, the other Final Four game in my bracket pits Memphis (who yes, I still believe is overrated though I have them here) against Pitino’s Cardinals. The outcome of this game will rest mostly on coaching and experience. Though the actual roster for Louisville doesn’t have the recent Final Four experience like some of Memphis’ players from last year, I really like Pitino in March. He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time and he’s simply basketball saavy. The best part? All of his guys buy into his system. Led by Terence Williams, Earl Clark, and an up-paced offense, I like Louisville to win a scorcher here. Calipari’s Tigers just won’t know what hit them and their luck will run out in the Final Four, proving that they’re not necessarily one of the nation’s elite. They simply took care of business in a weak conference. Louisville outplays the Tigers, 76-71.
2009 Championship Game in Detroit
Louisville vs. Oklahoma
Now, the finale. Louisville vs. Oklahoma in another bruiser in Detroit. Off the bat, I’m going to have to give the edge to Pitino. These types of games are where he thrives the most. He also gets his players to step up in the spotlight (refer to the Big East Championship last week). They are arguably the hottest team in the country, have been lighting it up from 3-point land, and have just run teams out of the gym on the fast break. Oklahoma will do a lot to stay competitive in this game but I think Pitino will have something up his sleeve to contain and/or stop Blake Griffin from scoring and beating them by himself. Coaching experience and conditioning wins this game…
Finally, let’s break down who has the edge in the rest of the matchup categories:
Scoring: Advantage Louisville
Defensive Pressure: Advantage Louisville
Strength and Size: Advantage Oklahoma
Basketball Smarts: Advantage Louisville
Rebounding: Advantage Oklahoma
Your 2009 NCAA Tournament Champion? The LOUISVILLE CARDINALS…81-73…. CONGRATS RICK PITINO!