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Final Four

And then there were Four. The Fantastic Four. Four Square. Whatever Final Four-inspired name you’d like to use to describe this weekend’s games and the bunch above me is fine. I’m sure they all fit. In the amazingly slight chance you don’t know what I’m referring to, the Final Four is this weekend with all four teams fighting for a chance to go to Monday night’s National Championship game.

So, who ya got? We’ll try to make it a little easier for you.

A lot of folks are picking UCLA to win here, saying they are due after three straight Final Four trips and while that may be so, isn’t a group that’s going for the first time kind-of due as well?

What we have here is Memphis’ scary athleticism versus Ben Howland’s defense-first attack. Can the Bruins turn the game into a 51-49/Texas A&M slugfest or will the Tigers run the court with ease like they did against Texas?

Can Joey Dorsey slow down the Kevin Love train? How about the Darren Collison/Derrick Rose match-up? Who has the edge? Youthful talent or a savvy, veteran guard who isn’t an athletic slouch by any means? Will Josh Shipp get abused by Chris Douglas-Roberts, much like everybody else who has tried to guard him during the Tournament (22.5 ppg during Memphis’ run to the Final Four)?

Considering the fact that Memphis has been consistently the best team since the Dance started, I’m going to go out on a limb here and pick the Tigers in surprisingly easy game – 75-62.

I don’t see UCLA keeping up with the horses in Memphis’ stable. However, if the game is close, I would expect UCLA to win because John Calipari has a habit of over-coaching his team in tense situations. And no, I’m not going to bring Memphis and free throw shooting into the discussion either.

If you are an opposing coach and that’s your strategy — counting on a team to miss charity shots — you don’t have much of a chance to begin with.

Ah yes, the headline bout. Roy “Coca-Cola” Williams versus Bill “Soon-to-be hounded-by-Oklahoma-State” Self.

While most of the free speaking media members in the world will present this game in that light — rightfully so — I think it’s going to come down to Darrell Arthur andTyler Hansbrough. Which one of these immovable objects will win the battle of the paint?

Looking at it, these teams couldn’t more equal matched if they were using exact clones of each other. For every Ty Lawson and Danny Green, there’s a Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush waiting to counter.

Both teams have depth, athleticism and a whole heap of talent. Both teams also have great coaches; and a great subplot to go along with them — Roy Williams was the previous coach of his current opponent, of course — which gives us one hell of an intriguing match-up.

Instead of going on stats and match-ups and this coach versus that coach, this one’s coming down to a gut feeling: Kansas – 83, North Carolina – 79.

And the Jayhawks go marching on.