Well, I said it at least twice in the past few weeks, and Syracuse finally proved me right by failing to escape the Sweet 16. In fact, they were a waste of a No. 1 seed and shame of the tournament selection committee for following the USA Today rankings and putting them in there. They weren’t a great team and it showed. Yeah, other No. 1 teams have been embarrassed, too, but Syracuse was just too easy to pick out. And now that only 1 No. 1 remains, let’s take a look at the final games on the schedule.
You have to hand it to Duke, and another prediction of mine that came true, that all the focus being on other No. 1 seeds would only play in Duke’s favor. Duke now faces No. 2 West Virginia on Friday, and they’ll be a 5-point favorite, I’m thinking. Duke’s steady offense and sturdy defense has carried them this far. They’re disciplined and understand their goal. West Virginia has been riding emotions, which you have to assume will only get stronger as the Final Four approaches. None of Duke’s games have really been that close, including the last one against Baylor. Funny, in that game Duke shot 36 percent from the field overall, but 48 percent from behind the arc. If West Virginia can guard that three, they have as good as chance as anyone of toppling the Blue Devils. So, my prediction is that Duke’s leadership and discipline wins out in the end, but not enough to cover the spread. I might just drop a few on West Virginia if the line makes it worthwhile.
And a battle of No. 5’s. Makes you feel nostalgic to see MSU back in the final four, even without the insanely overrated Mateen Cleeves, right? Let’s hope MSU pulls another one out just so we don’t have to see ESPN embarrass themselves with another “Butler did it” headline. Just makes you shake your head and roll your eyes. To say MSU escaped vs. Tenn. is an understatement, and they’ll certainly have their hands full against Butler. The popular pick is to go with the Spartans, who wil probably be favored by a trifecta or so. But I like the way Butler has played as a team. Solid defense, channeled emotion and clutch shooting has brought them this far, and I think they’re going to pull off an upset. I do think the winner of this game ultimately will lose to the winner of the Duke/WVA game, but that’s for another article. Butler in an upset. Butler in the title game!!?? Believe