Four Corners: Which teams are best bets to reach the men's Final Four?

March 16, 2010

Kansas-K State, Part 4
Shannon Ryan

Chicago Tribune

Look for Kansas, West Virginia, Kansas State and Duke.

Kansas is a pick-your-poison team with loads of talent and the motivation of three players dreaming of winning their second NCAA title in three years.

Kansas State will play Kansas for the fourth time this season when they meet in the Final Four. Potential opponents don't have the guard play to stop Denis Clemente or Jacob Pullen from advancing to the Elite Eight, where the Wildcats will knock off Syracuse.

Can you say clutch? Da'Sean Butler and West Virginia embody that word. The second-seeded Mountaineers might not have the guards to stop Kentucky's John Wall, but their athletic forwards are a tough matchup for any opponent.

In any other bracket, Duke would look vulnerable as a No. 1 seed. But it has a smooth four-lane highway in the South Region.

sryan@tribune.com

Kentucky will survive
David Teel

Newport News

After watching the Big East's top two seeds lose in the quarterfinals and the ACC's bottom two seeds reach the semifinals, forecasting the Final Four seems like a fool's errand.

But since not filling out a bracket is downright un-American, here goes.

Kansas appears the class of a brutal Midwest Region that includes five conference tournament champs among the top 12 seeds and likely national player of the year Evan Turner of Ohio State. Kentucky will navigate a treacherous East road that includes possible encounters with Texas, Temple and West Virginia.

The soft South seems ripe for Villanova to survive Richmond in the second round and return to the Final Four. The West's top six seeds are capable, but we'll take No. 1 Syracuse, the best of the Big East.

dteel@tribune.com

Big East goes 3 of 4
Andrea Adelson

Orlando Sentinel

Kansas has the toughest road to the Final Four, but I still think the Jayhawks win the national championship. Though they are a team full of freshmen, they are the most complete. They play great defense, and they have a proven senior leader in point guard Sherron Collins.

The Jayhawks will meet West No. 1 Syracuse in the first semifinal. Even with the injury to Arinze Onuaku the Orange will make it through. In the other semifinal, I have No. 2 seed West Virginia from the East vs. No. 2 seed Villanova in the South. Yes, that is three Big East teams in the Final Four, but the league was the best all year and will prove it come tournament time.

I realize Villanova has struggled of late, losing five of its last seven, but the matchups in this bracket are in its favor. Guard Scottie Reynolds must be on for the Wildcats to make it this far.

aadelson@tribune.com

No. 2s are top play
Mike Anthony

Hartford Courant

It's the year of No. 2 seeds.

Only one top seed - Kansas - will make the Final Four. The Jayhawks are the best team in the nation, and despite playing in arguably the most difficult bracket, the Midwest, they will end up in Indianapolis.

Syracuse will cruise along in the West until running into Kansas State, which will advance to make it an all-Kansas matchup in the national semifinals.

Kentucky, perhaps the most talented team, will fall to a tougher, smarter West Virginia team in the East Region final.

And Villanova, the No. 2 seed in the South Region, despite all its recent struggles will find its groove, run past top-seeded Duke in the Elite Eight and make a second consecutive Final Four appearance.

manthony@tribune.com

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