Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Final Four is set. Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Louisville won their Regionals and advance to next weekend's Final Four in New Orleans. Unlike 2010 and 2011, when mid-major "Cinderellas" Butler and Virginia Commonwealth shocked the world and advanced to the Final Four, the 2012 Final Four field is comprised entirely of the usual suspects.
Louisville competes in the Big East Conference, but geographically, the East Coast is entirely shut out. Three of the four teams come from schools within 100 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio. The fourth, Kansas, comes from the heart of the heartland. It's an entirely Midwestern and Mid South Final Four.
Syracuse was the top-seeded team in the Tournament, but Syracuse alumni who work in the national sports media (in other words, most of the national sports media) will have to content themselves by pulling for Louisville to defend the Big East's honor. Casual fans who've enjoyed rooting for Cinderella "Davids" (i.e., Butler) to knock off college basketball "blue blood" "Goliaths" (i.e., Duke and Connecticut) in the last two NCAA Championship games will be faced with the likelihood of watching "blue blood" Kentucky play "blue blood" Kansas for the right to hand yet another NCAA Championship banner in the rafters.
On a more personal level, Drive and Dish editors will be stuck at a wedding in south Georgia while Saturday's games are being played. But if we get the chance, we may try to hit Interstate 10 on Sunday morning and see if we can get to New Orleans by evening. If so, we'll be hanging around the Final Four for Monday's Championship game.