I was crushed. Clinging to the coattails of Stephen Curry and Davidson I sunk into my chair as the final shot ricocheted off the backboard. Their season, over. Kansas' victory solidified all four number one seeds for the first time in NCAA Tournament history.
Davidson didn't go down without a fight.
Led by former NBA-star Del Curry's son, Davidson's improbable run was met with skepticism and doubt. Sports announcers decried their athleticism and experience. Their best player weighed only 185 pounds and stood merely 6'3". They weren't deterred, and didn't play like they were ranked less than number one. Curry stepped his game up a notch every round of play. His release is silky smooth and Dale Ellis-like quick.
But alas the Final Four is set, and it comes this year without the fear of the unknown. Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina and UCLA. It's like if the Red Sox and Yankees could play in the World Series against eachother. There is no hidden surprises. No unheralded talents. Each team knows what they need to execute to win. And which dominant force to stop.
Throughout the tournament the big names have lived up to their reputations. I'm loving Kevin Love. His quiet yet controlling post game propels UCLA in big moments. It doesn't hurt to have third-team All-American Darren Collison playing along side him either.
Memphis is led by first-team All-American Chris Douglas-Roberts and fellow wingman Derrick Rose. No surprises here. Memphis has lost only once this season, and I foresee that is the only game they will lose. There are no holes in this team. Thy play hard every possesion. They have the athleticism to stick with Kansas and the attitude to play against North Carolina. They are my pick to win.
North Carolina has had no trouble arriving in their 17th Final Four!!! Tyler "Psycho T" Hansborough is the best player in college basketball. He plays like a lioness attacking zebras. Balls out, leaving everything he has on the court. He is impossible to box out. His teammates compliment him beautifully. They would be my pick to win if Memphis would've been knocked off.
Finally, Kansas squeaked by Davidson to round out the Final Four. I love Kansas. Every year I pick them to win it. Of course this year, when they have a legitimate chance, I was in Vietnam and couldn't fill out a bracket. If they win it this year it is only to spite me.
Brandon Rush recovered 100% from his ACL tear and although they can play out of sync, their athleticism and tenacity makes up for it. My inclination is they are the weakest (along with UCLA) team remaining.
I'm excited and stocking up on chips and salsa. It's gonna be a battle.