Monday, November 19, 2007

Not Exactly Pre-Season NCAA Final Four Picks

There are two reasons that this entry is absurd:

1) The NCAA Basketball season is already approaching the end of its first month.

2) Any Final Four picks made before the actual brackets are drawn is fundamentally meaningless.

That being said, I'm writing this sumbitch anyway. And my picks are:

* Memphis
* Kansas State
* Michigan State

I've got good reasons for each. Mostly dealing with post-Fab Five precedents. As in the conventional wisdom derived from all the tournaments that have been played since 1992. And the precedents I'm applying would be:

Precedent: 2000 Michigan State Spartans
Common Formula: Veteran PG + Great team defense + Great team rebounding + Nasty schedule (in and out of conference)

Precedent: 1997 Arizona Wildcats
Common Formula: Superstar frosh PG + Iconic coach due for a title + Depth in front and backcourts + Better athletes than everyone else

Kansas State
Precedent: 2002 Indiana Hoosiers
Common Formula: Young beast in the front court + Replacement coach + Endless conference wars to toughen it up

Michigan State
Precedent: 1997 Minnesota Gophers
Common Formula: Gutsy senior guard as team leader + Hard-nosed style of team play + Anonymous-chip-on-its-shoulder-roster

If you're keeping score at home, three of those teams have freshmen starting in key positions. And none of my picks include the Tar Heels, Jayhawks, Hoyas or Blue Devils. I just can't drink the kool-aid on any of those teams. Not now. And probably not any time soon. Not where national championships are concerned, anyway.

I will, however, be very curious to see what types of seasons Pitt, 'SC, VCU and So Ill each have. Am intrigued by Louisville, Washington State, Nevada, Villanova and Austin Peay, too. I'd plug any of those schools into a pre-season Sweet 16 if I was writing one of those. But I'm not.

And now I'm not writing this one anymore either.

*Logs off to watch second half of UCLA and Maryland*

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