Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Final Four

Well, Saturday was a very disappointing day for Pitt fans everywhere. However, this was not the only let down of the weekend. The Elite Eight sent two #1's to the Final Four, and two home. Pitt and Louisville were the unlucky parties. I'll briefly, and with some difficulty, recap the Elite Eight. Then I'll give my picks for the national championship game.

In the first game, #1 Connecticut squared off with #3 Missouri. The Tigers were hoping for the upset but came up short. The Huskies were up 44-38 at halftime, and were ahead for the majority of the game. Eventually, U-Conn finished off Mizzou 82-75. The speed of the Tigers kept them in the game, but Connecticut proved too much. So the Huskies were the first team to punch their ticket for Detroit. The night game saw #1 Pitt face #3 Villanova. This heartbreaking game was a nailbiter, which unfortunately saw the Panthers fall. Pitt held a slim 34-32 halftime lead, as the lead changed numerous times. Tied 76-76 with 6 seconds left, Wildcat point guard Scottie Reynolds hit a runner with .5 left to break Pitt's heart. The Panthers saw Levance Fields get off a look at the buzzer, but it hit off the backboard and harmlessly bounced away. This was a hard-fought game, and both teams were worthy of the win. However, it was especially disappointing for Pitt's three seniors: Young, Fields, and Biggs. With the win the Wildcats became the second Big East team headed to Motown. In today's action, #1 Louisville battled #2 Michigan St. Few expected a Spartan win, but Louisville played terribly, and that's exactly what took place. MSU was up 30-27 at halftime, and went on a second half run to pull away for the 64-52 victory. The Cardinals did not shoot well, and looked nothing like the team that dismantled Arizona in the Sweet Sixteen. Tom Izzo and the Spartans get to essentially head home, since Detroit is only 90 miles from East Lansing. Finally, in a highly anticipated match-up, #1 North Carolina took on #2 Oklahoma. Despite another fantastic game from Blake Griffin, the Sooners trailed the entire contest. Up 32-23 at halftime, the Tar Heels never looked back winning 72-60. This marks the second consecutive Final Four appearance for UNC. With the matchups set, here are my picks for the national championship.

The first game will see #1 Connecticut tangle with #2 Michigan St. Most, myself included, didn't expect either team to be here. However, both have played well and definitely deserve it. Since both have beaten Louisville this makes for a tough pick. I'm going to give the Spartans the edge playing in front of the hometown crowd, and send Tom Izzo and crew into the national title game to meet...
#1 North Carolina who face #3 Villanova in the late game. Jay Wright and the Wildcats have had a great run, but, as for a lot of other teams it ends against the Tar Heels. Although UNC hasn't faced a defensive team of Villanova's caliber, the Heels simply have too many weapons. However, this one should be compelling, and Nova will keep it close. Maybe even close enough for the upset, if you want to call it that. There you go a North Carolina vs. Michigan St. national championship game. Will I be right? Wait and see.

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