Fighting Words: Who will top Final Four?

Keith Cordero Jr.: Huskies or bust

My bracket is busted, but the field for the Final Four in Houston is all set.

With no No.1 and No. 2 seeds headed to Reliant Stadium, the Final Four is wide open, but my favorite to win is head coach Jim Calhoun’s No. 3 seed Connecticut.

UConn has the best player in all of college basketball in Kemba Walker (sorry Jimmer Fredette fans). They also have the most proven coach in Jim Calhoun, who has led a Huskies team to a National Championship in 1999 and 2004, along with four total Final Fours.

With all due respect to the Kentucky Wildcats and the Cinderella duo of Virginia Commonwealth and Butler, the Huskies have won nine games in a row after a horrible finish in the Big East regular season.

I predict UConn will get past Kentucky and beat the winner of VCU and Butler.

Five wins in five nights in the Big East Tournament and four NCAA Tournament wins led by Walker and freshman Jeremy Lamb have UConn two wins away from a third title since 1999.

I love the story of the VCU Rams and Butler Bulldogs, but it’s crunch time and UConn has a closer in Walker; his ability to make shots gives the Huskies the best chance to win it all.

Christopher Losee: Have a toast for the little guy

It’s a toss-up for sure Keith, but picking Connecticut is a poor choice.

I would think that you would have more to argue than Kemba Walker’s athletic ability; not pointing out anything new there. Anyways, Butler and VCU have shocked the nation upsetting some of the best programs on several occassions, but the rising star among the group is Virginia Commonwealth.

Even though VCU posted a sub-par regular season, it has dominated teams in its last five tournament games, winning by 12 points or more in three of those wins.

VCU does not rely on the abilities of one player; it relies on four of them. Yes, VCU is at a great disadvantage playing returning Final Four team Butler, but the Cinderella story will have a happily-ever-after conclusion.

After the Huskies’ Tournament run comes to an end, the stage will be set with VCU in the final facing off against the Kentucky Wildcats. With every bracket busted, it would be an exciting change of pace to have an underdog team such as the Rams win it all.

It’s already a miracle that the team has made it this far, so start believing in miracles — because VCU is going to find out that the slipper fits.

Joshua Siegel: A case of the Kentucky blues

Chris, that’s really cute. I’m glad you’re sticking up for the little guy. Really, it’s touching.

But the Rams season will turn into a pumpkin at some point. Their offense relies too heavily on 3-point shots. You need to have a backup plan. What’s VCU’s plan B? Also, teams usually don’t win it all on their first try, they usually have to wait their turn.

Keith, I love Kemba to death, he’s a great human and ball player. I like the Huskies, but I like the Wildcats just a little bit more.

Unlike last year when Kentucky’s lack of a perimeter game was their undoing, this Kentucky team has a multi-faceted offense. Right now they’re clicking. The scoring trio of Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins will be a lot to handle for the Huskies — and whoever Kentucky faces after that. The emergence of post player Josh Harrellson has added a new dimension to Kentucky’s offense.

They have the most talent of all of the teams, and as long as head coach John Calipari can keep their heads straight, they are the team to beat. They have so many weapons and they also play defense. The players have bought into Calipari’s belief that the team is bigger than the player, and they are peaking at the right time.

Judge Brannen: The Avatar wins again

Looking at the last four teams remaining, it is easy to say that the winner of the UConn and Kentucky game will easily crush the winner of Butler and VCU and leave the Bayou City as national champions.

It’s surprising that no matter what the Bulldogs and Rams do, they manage to attract a steady stream of doubters.

This is not like college football where teams from a big-time BCS conference are the only ones capable of becoming national champions. The Horizon League and Colonial Athletic Association can just as easily produce a champion as the Big East or SEC.

Butler coach Brad Stevens and VCU coach Shaka Smart have both taken different paths than Jim Calhoun and John Calipari, and could spark a new generation in college basketball.

Verdict: While I don’t envision VCU pulling off the unthinkable, I do think Butler can with its experience from last season. Chris gets the win for thinking somewhat similarly.

Facetime: The name’s Smart — Shaka Smart.

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