For all the enthusiasm around the Final Four, this year's version feels like a coronation -- Kentucky claiming its spot as one of the great teams of the post-KG era in college basketball and John Calipari finally getting that first championship.
Klosterman made a good point on Grantland yesterday: It would be an affirmation of Cal's singular "pre-NBA" recruiting approach, although it's not to be discounted that this particular group at Kentucky is unique:
Anthony Davis is the best college interior defensive player since Patrick Ewing. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is not only talented enough to be the No. 2 NBA prospect in the country, but he is a phenomenal teammate. The two of them -- despite being the team's top NBA prospects -- are 4th and 5th on the team in shots taken.
The reality is that it has taken Cal a few years to refine his system to the point where his insanely talented NBA-ready players subordinate themselves to the ideal of spending a few months focused entirely on winning six straight games in late March.
It is unclear whether next year's one-and-done crop will take the same attitude (and they certainly won't be as talented as Davis and MKG) -- all the more reason to appreciate this team and its potential dominance.
As for game picks:
I have really appreciated the crazy rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville (sorry, Cards fans: between Louisville and Kentucky), but UK is going to win by double-digits.
Meanwhile, I'll take Ohio State over Kansas, if only because my 5-year-old picked Ohio State to the title game and if that happens, he'll finish in the 98th percentile nationally on a bracket he picked entirely himself.
*MLB preview and picks -- absurdly shallow, as always -- coming Monday.
*Stanford wins NIT: Uh...woo?
*Thunder win over Lakers: Just another indicator it's OKC's world now in the West.
*And the Heat over the Mavs is just another indicator the teams are going in opposite directions this year (although "rings bling forever," and that's where the Mavs have it over the Heat forever.)
*Steve Nash to the Heat this summer? That would just be unfair.
*NFL Draft: Trent Richardson is going to be the best pro RB since Peterson.
*NBA Draft: Barnes/Henson/Marshall all going pro early. Barnes is basically Calbert Cheaney. Henson is too skinny (remember Brandon Wright?) Marshall made UNC go, but is not quick enough to play defense in the NBA. McAdoo a better prospect than all of them.
A few notes coming this weekend. But definitely pop by Quickish today (there's been some great Final Four tips to recommend) and all weekend.