Elite Eight Preview: Sunday

1.Kansas vs. 11. VCU

In the future, ESPN analysts are going to think twice about questioning the merits of a CAA team belonging in the tournament.  Just like George Mason in 2006, the critics (myself included) were screaming bloody murder that VCU had no business being selcted for the tournament.  Shaka Smart and his team have answered the doubters by beating teams from the Big East, Pac 10, ACC, and Big Ten.  And like George Mason in ’06, the unlikely team from the CAA is facing a heavily favored number one seed to get to the final four.  As much as everyone wants to see history repeat itself, I think the talent level and size of Kansas will be too much.  The Morris twins have even given their prediction for what VCU should expect.

2. UNC vs 4. Kentucky

This is a re-match of the game between the two teams on December 4th.  Not much should be made of that two point Carolina victory.  At the time, the Heels still had Larry Drew at the point and Harrison Barnes was considered a bust.  Kentucky was thought to be talented, but nowhere near as good as the previous year’s John Wall squad.  Both teams have grown considerably since then.  Brandon Knight has hit two clutch shots to lead the Wildcats to this point.  Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones bring in loads of talent as well.  But it’s been the surprising play of big man Josh Harrellson that has sparked the squad.  I expect their run to end today though.  The combination of Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and Harrison Barnes has given teams fits.  The size and length of the Heels can overwhelm teams.  Barnes and Zeller, especially, are very skilled offensively for their size.  Henson’s shot blocking ability will make a guard like Brandon Knight think twice about going into the lane.  Aside from those players, expect the difference maker to be Kendall Marshall.  The freshman point guard’s vision and passing ability are off the charts.  In the end, I expect a close game, but I truly believe the Roy Williams will have the Tar Heels back in the Final Four.

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