Looking at the Final Four

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:20 PM ET

TORONTO - And then there were four. The quartet bound for Houston has been determined and five people on the planet probably called it.

If you were one of them, youíre lying.

Here are some early thoughts on what to expect, though making predictions has been pretty much useless in this particular tournament.

Tired legs?

UConn is the highest seed remaining but played a game every two nights ó nine in 18 days ó before getting this week off.

That should be enough time to get back to 100%, but on the flip side, will the break be bad for the Huskies?

Thereís a good chance it will be. Kemba Walker and Co. are really rolling and time off will lead to rust and cut into their momentum.

The case should be different for VCU, which has already played five games thanks to being a play-in team. VCUís game is built on running opponents into the ground and firing a ton of shots from long range. A week off will give Shaka Smartís gang a great opportunity to rest their legs.

Historic Final Four

What a crazy year. Few expected it, but Butler became the 15th team since 1970 to reach the final weekend back-to-back years and the first from a less-heralded conference to do it since Jerry Tarkanianís UNLV Runniní Rebels in 1990 and 1991.

Butler head coach Brad Stevens doesnít have a Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony or Stacey Augmon, but he has Shelvin Mack, Matt Howard and a group that seems to find a way no matter the odds. Butler has won nine of its past 10 tournament games, losing only to Duke in the championship game last year when Gordon Haywardís three rimmed out.

The Bulldogs are the first team to make it this far back-to-back years without being ranked one or two.

This will be only the third Final Four without a single No. 1 seed. Thanks to Kentuckyís win over North Carolina, thereís no No. 2 either.

The new top seed, No. 3 UConn has won nine in a row. UNC had won nine straight tournament games.

Ironically, this is the first year there have been play-in games and that led to No. 11 VCU making the Final Four.

Getting the point

They might be better defined as combo guards than pure points, but Kentuckyís Brandon Knight and UConnís Kemba Walker have been two of the premier players in this tournament. They will get a chance to go up against each other in Houston and it should be the best matchup of the Final Four.

Knight has the edge in size and is a better defender, but nobody has been able to cool off Walker in the past few weeks.

Both shoot 43% from the field and both are extremely streaky. Knight picks up assists on a more consistent basis, but Walker can pile them up as well when he is so inclined.

NBA personnel will be watching intently, perhaps none moreso than the Raptors who could well be weighing one against the other when it comes time to make their pick at the NBA draft.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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