Before I make my picks for today, has anyone else noticed that the website for the company that covers the Final Four (sportsline.com) has the worst analysis of the games themselves? Dennis Dodd and Michael Freeman have written a series of amateur articles that really add no value leading up to the game itself. On the flip-side, espn.com, while usually mocked by bloggers such as myself, has been extraordinary in their coverage, breaking down the game from every angle, as well as giving the games a historical perspective as well as projecting forward into the nba draft. Heck, even Bill Simmons' blog has been a pretty good read. (It's amazing how much better his writing has become since he stopped resenting being "just" a blogger and began to embrace his role.) I just thought I'd give some credit where it was due.
As for my picks, I have personal interests clouding my view. Whenever that happens, I retreat back to my comfort zone- gambling. (Note: I'm not really that great of a sports' bettor, but at least it's comfortable.) Assuming I had access to a sportsbook (but really Feds, there's no need to investigate that), here's where my money would lie:
Ohio State +1 vs Georgetown.
Neither of these teams have looked dominant on their way to the Final Four, as both have had to rally from 2nd half deficits in their last two games. This game is being billed as Oden vs Hibbert, but I think the backcourt is where this game will be decided; and that's where the Buckeyes have the edge. While Hibbert and Oden neutralize each other, Mike Conley Jr, Ron Lewis and Daequan Cook will be the difference makers in this one.
Ohio State 70, Georgetown 62
Florida -3 vs UCLA
If Ben Howland insists on double-teaming Joakim Noah everytime he touches the ball, this game will be over by halftime. Noah is a pass-first forward who is taller than anyone who will double him. When UCLA runs a second defender at him, the game becomes too easy for the Gators. If UCLA plays him straight up, then the game just comes down to which way the whistle blows, as Lorenzo Mata, Alfred Aboya, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute have all had troubles with fouls against big men. If UCLA plays the perfect game, they can beat Florida, but that's asking a lot for a team that's travelled across country to play what amounts to a Florida home game.
Florida 73, UCLA 64
You knew I couldn't actually pick the Bruins, right? While I'm not the most superstitious person on the planet, I'm not completely devoid of it either.
One thing is certain- win or lose- I'll be drinking heavily tonight. It's just a question of whether it's in celebration or drowning sorrows. Cheers.