by Mark Mayer | There’s Cinderella, a distinct homecourt edge and a chance for an epic Final Four when the last two tickets to San Antonio are punched today.
Never before have four No. 1 seeds been able to advance to the Final Four, but two are in and the others are favored to do the same. The early game (11:20 a.m. PT) features Memphis, the top seed in the South, against No. 2 Texas at the Reliant Center in Houston. The nightcap (2:05 p.m.) involves the 35-1 longshot Davidson against the Midwest No. 1 Kansas at the Palace of Auburn Hills outside Detroit. UCLA and North Carolina posted victories Saturday to fill half of the field for next Saturday’s NCAA college basketball semifinals.
The individual story of the tournament has been Davidson’s Stephen Curry, who has averaged over 33 points a game in victories over Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin. The winner of the Davidson-Kansas game will face North Carolina. UCLA is the opponent for the victor of the Memphis-Texas clash. The underdog Longhorns have already beaten three No. 1 ranked teams this season (UCLA, Tennessee and Kansas).
While we’ve fallen to the Cinderella role in picking spread winners, a valiant attempt will be made to turn things around.
Memphis -3½ vs Texas: The Longhorns have the locale and resume to reach the Final Four and what would be another decided homecourt advantage in San Antonio. The Horns were locked in a toe-to-toe battle for the Big 12 tourney title against Kansas and folded in the final two minutes. The cynics ave been waiting for Memphis to fall, but it hasn’t happened. In fact, the Tigers never looked better in a first-half mauling of Michigan State. Yes, Memphis struggles at the foul line, but this is a team playing with passion. MEMPHIS.
Davidson +9½ vs Kansas: As in the name, this David is not scared of Goliath. The Wildcats played close games this season with both North Carolina and UCLA. In the tourney, they were down double-digits before rallying to beat Georgetown, then Curry shot Wisconsin back to Madison. Kansas had been workmanlike, easily disposing of Portland State, our own UNLV and Villanova. If Davidson were to lose by 9, that would be the closest result Kansas has had. Our heart is on the Cats, but the $$$ says Rock Chalk. KANSAS.