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FINAL FOUR CINDERELLA TEAMS
A PREVIEW OF THE 2008 NCAA COLLEGE BAKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Selection Sunday for the infamous NCAA college basketball tournament has come and gone with some unexpected surprise selections, the usual favorites (North Carolina, Duke, UCLA) and Cinderella stories already swirling, but all and all it looks like it will be another entertaining year for college basketball fans on the way to the Final Four!
One of the greatest things about the NCAA tourney is that there always seems to be Cinderella stories, no matter how good some of the top teams seem to be, there is always some team that comes out of nowhere to put the big dogs back in place.
This year will have one of the best Cinderella stories returning to the tournament in hopes of finishing what they started back in 2006 when they went all the way to the Final Four with an unbelievable run that has gone down in basketball history as one of the best underdog stories in sports. That is right; I am talking about George Mason! I believe if any team this year has a chance to do the impossible; it is the team that has already done it. The only problem for George Mason is that it will one hell of a challenge for them because they will have to eventually go up against three teams that will be extremely tuff to take down starting with Tyler Hanbrough’s Tar Heels, Eric Gordon’s Hoosiers and #2 seed Tennessee. I do believe Mason can get past Indiana, but will take another miracle to pass North Carolina and Tennessee in the East.
Every year when all the tournament selections are made there are always some surprising teams that make the cut (almost like they are just practice squads to go against the #1 seed big boys) and this year is no different as you have teams like Cal State Fullerton, Portland State, Siena, UMBC (who?) in the East and Midwest brackets, then you have Texas Arlington, Miss Valley State, Austin Peay and Belmont over in the South and West brackets.
Although it is always fun to watch one of the bigs like Duke, Memphis, Kansas and Texas go down in the first round, most if not all of these teams will be destroyed by their dominant opponents, but you never know, that is why the tourney is so fun to watch because everyone starts at zero and every team has a fighting chance.Final Four Favorites:
Every year when the big dance is about to kick off, there are the teams that always seem to have the edge before any games even get played because they were either extremely dominant during the regular season, won the conference tournaments, have been on top the top 25 all year or all of the above.
This year, some of the most famous of schools have that distinction of Final Four favorites: UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas
All four of these teams are #1 seeds in the section of the bracket and although these are the obvious picks for the Final Four, I don’t believe that all of them will get there, in fact out of these four, I believe only two have what it takes to make it, North Carolina and UCLA., but I would not be surprised to see Derek Rose lead his Memphis Tigers to the promise land.
As for the rest of the brackets, keep an eye out for Davidson, Clemson, Kent State and USC in the Midwest. In the South, lookouts for Kentucky and Stanford to pull out some upsets in the later rounds and as for the West (no one will get past UCLA) expect a Duke versus UCLA showdown in the Elite Eight, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baylor, Drake and Georgia create some upsets.
So here are my picks:
Possible Cinderellas: George Mason, USC (seeded #6, but got to go through Kansas State, Kansas and Wisconsin), Baylor
Final Four: UCLA (West), Memphis (South), North Carolina (East), USC (Midwest)
Upset Final Four Scenario: George Mason (East), Georgetown (Midwest), Duke (West), Stanford (South)
Championship: North Carolina versus UCLA
Tournament Champion: UCLA