When it comes to the Final Four Predictions 2011, by now, you probably know all the obvious storylines. Can VCU or Butler continue their surprising run? Can John Calipari stay out of trouble with the NCAA? Will Kemba Walker be a one-man wrecking crew?
But here are some additional thoughts, ones that few are talking about…
Can Jim Calhoun Continue His Coaching Legacy: By now you know that while it’s been a wild ride for UConn fans on the court this season, off the court it’s been tough sledding. NCAA sanctions hit the program hard this year, and the school will lose scholarships and recruiting privileges going forward.
Still, Calhoun can somehow pull out two more wins and another National Championship, he will instantaneously be vaulted into the discussion as one of the greatest coaches ever. Calhoun is already considered elite, but getting another National Championship would make him just the second coach since John Wooden retired to get three total titles, with the other being Coach K at Duke. He’d pass Roy Williams of North Carolina and Billy Donovan of Florida, as the only other active coaches with two.
There’s a lot more on the line in the Final Four Predictions 2011 than just wins and losses. Calhoun’s legacy is on the line.
Can John Calipari Win With Freshmen: It’s the question that’s been posed since Day 1 of Calipari’s arrival in Lexington: Can you win with mostly young players?
The cynics will point to last year’s Wildcats team, led by four freshmen and a junior that got tripped up in the Elite Eight. They said that with so many young players, it’d show in the tournament, and in 2010 they were right, as Kentucky fell to a more experienced, if not more talented West Virginia squad.
Well with three freshmen in their six man rotation this season, no storyline is more interesting in the Final Four Predictions 2011 than whether the Wildcats can take home a title with so many young players. Calipari is notorious for saying, “Give me the best players, and I’ll figure out the rest.” So far, so good. It’s gotten him to the brink of a national title.
Shaka’s Last Stand: Finally, staying with coaches, we’ve got to talk about VCU’s Shaka Smart. Because right now the most talked about story in college hoops is whether or not this is the last weekend that Smart is VCU’s coach?
Now obviously Smart won’t be going anywhere unless he wants to, but many VCU fans are wondering if one of the “bigger,” schools will come calling with an open checkbook after the Rams tournament runm. The two most feasible landing spots are Missouri and NC State, both which have head coaching openings, and both which are willing to pony up whatever dough it takes to bring Shaka to town.
Will it happen? Who knows. But it’s something to keep in mind when evaluating your Final Four Predictions 2011.