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Sully's Court: Looking at Saturday's games

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  March 26, 2010 04:16 PM

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Looking at Saturday's games:

East Region at Syracuse, N.Y.

1. Kentucky (35-2) vs. 2. West Virginia (30-6), 7 p.m.: Neither team looked great in the regional semifinals. Kentucky dominated Cornell at times but it wasn't a game anyone is saving on Tivo. West Virginia was up-and-down in beating Washington plus the Mountaineers' star forward Da'Sean Butler injured his hand. Plus starting point guard Truck Bryant didn't play and won't play again this season because of a foot injury. Bryant not indispensable. Butler is. He says he's OK and West Virginia fans better hope that's true. Kentucky fell behind early vs. Cornell, blitzed past them, then piddled around the rest of the game. The Wildcats need to give West Virginia 40 minutes of their attention. Kentucky is fast, big, and deep. West Virginia is not fast but is deep. The Mountaineers have overall good height (big guards) but no big-time big men who can man-up against Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson. West Virginia will match Kentucky in a physical sense, and the Mountaineers have been through a lot of tough games. I see this as a tight, defensive matchup with Butler's health being a key factor.

West Region at Salt Lake City

2. Kansas State (29-7) vs. 5. Butler (31-4), 4:30 p.m.: As opposed to the East finalists, these teams are coming off impressive efforts. Butler controlled almost the entire game against Syracuse, made big shots, played sticky defense, and got all the loose balls. When challenged, they reacted positively. Kansas State went toe-to-toe with Xavier and won in double overtime in a classic battle that had clutch shot after clutch shot. Kansas State will have the edge in quickness and size. Butler knows how to counter that, they did it magnificently against Syracuse. The Bulldogs need to shoot well and get some inside points from tumbling Matt Howard, their shortish center who has set records for falling down in this tournament. Kansas State should win, but Butler has been a revelation, a confident, well-coached team. I have to think this will be another close game.

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