Monday, March 26, 2012
Four for Four: It's going to be epic
By Eamonn Brennan
We're five days away from the Final Four. There is much to learn, or relearn, in that time. Now that you've finished with Myron's early primer (and if you aren't, what are you waiting for?), let's look at four big themes you should know about the teams involved, the road they took to get here and the weekend's event itself. We're calling this little mini-series Four for Four, which is not particularly clever but the best we can do on the Monday morning after an insane weekend. Check back throughout the day for each brief installment.
First up: The Final Four as epic spectacle is back.
There are no real incursions here. And given the talent and season-long excellence characteristic of teams that fell along the way (see: North Carolina, Michigan State, Syracuse, Missouri, Baylor, and even Duke and Georgetown and Indiana) it's safe to say this season went essentially as expected. And when Louisville -- the Big East tournament champion, a team coached by a future Hall of Famer, seeded as high as 2011's second-highest Final Four seed (back when Kentucky was the plucky No. 4 that took down the favorite Ohio State in the Sweet 16) -- is your Final Four's most surprising inclusion, it's safe to say you've got talent in your sport's marquee event.
Don't get us wrong: We'll always love the tournament darlings of the world. They make the college hoops world fun. They remind us why we love the sport in the first place. But charming as the past two Final Fours were, it's time, as the saying goes, to put aside childish things. After two years of spunky upstarts, we more than were ready for some big-boy basketball. That's exactly what we'll get.