You could make the argument that this year’s NCAA Tournament was the most unpredictable tournament of all time. Teams you thought would win, didn’t, and teams you thought had no chance, became giant killers. It was a tournament that was impossible to call. The Final Four has been decided and there’s a slim chance anyone would have guessed the teams that would be contending for the national championship in Indianapolis. Read more.
As far as I’m concerned, Duke is saving the Final Four. I’m sorry but aside from Michigan State, the rest of the teams in the Final Four just don’t garner as much attention in the college basketball world. The true basketball fan will tell you that West Virginia making the Final Four is not a big surprise but then again most people don’t even know where Butler’s campus is. With Kansas, Syracuse, and Kentucky knocked out of the tourney, so went the biggest names and players in the tournament. Kentucky Freshman sensation John Wall may have played his last collegiate basketball game and it will certainly be the one he would like to forget. Kansas lost to a bunch of country boys from Northern Iowa and Syracuse got handled by perhaps the Cinderella of the tournament, Butler. Tom Izzo may have completed his greatest coaching achievement to date and cemented his status as the best coach in college basketball, by taking his Michigan State Spartans to their second consecutive Final Four, without their star player and point guard, Kalin Lucas. But as far as big ratings go, who is really excited about the teams in the Final Four?
Having Duke in the Final Four gives everyone a reason to watch it. No other team, aside from Kentucky, North Carolina and to some degree Kansas, has so many people that both hate and love to see them win or lose. Coach K, is probably the most popular name in college basketball and Duke having a chance at the title will surely boost ratings for CBS. Most importantly, just because Duke is in the Final Four, people who wouldn’t normally bet on it, will. Just think how many Kentucky fans will be hoping, praying and betting against Duke to win the championship. You can throw Tarheels and Jayhawks fans into that mix too. I’d personally love to see a Michigan State and Duke final, but I have a sinking feeling the slipper still fits Butler. Oh and Butler’s campus, it’s in Indianapolis, six miles away from where they will be playing, so they’ll have the crowd on their side, kind of like Michigan State had last year in their final four when they upset UConn.
Love them or hate them, Duke has a great chance to win the whole thing. It’s not the same Duke team as past years, they have a good balance of athletism and size inside and great shooters on the perimeter. While so many will be betting against Duke to win, because of hate for the galvanizing Bluedevils, sportsbooks are just glad they’re still in it.