Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
The NCAA basketball tournament has reached the Final Four, on both the men’s and women’s side.
On the latest edition of the JR Sport Brief podcast, JR talks with CBS Sports basketball analyst Clark Kellogg about the men’s Final Four and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings about the women’s.
Kellogg is he’s looking forward to the Villanova-Oklahoma game, one that he says is so close to call a winner.
“This Oklahoma-Villanova match up is the one that’s hardest for me to decide on who I think is going to win,” said Kellogg.
Kellogg sees it as a duo between the best player playing against the better team.
“I love what Buddy Hield has done all season, I think he’s the player of the year in college basketball without much question,” said Kellogg. “He’s been brilliant all season long and even more so in the tournament. Villanova has been outstanding in its tournament play. A little more defense oriented than Oklahoma, I think that might give the Wildcats a slight edge. But Buddy Hield is the kind of guy that can carry a team, even against a team that’s as good as Villanova.”
For whoever gets to the championship game on Monday night in Houston, Kellogg thinks they’ll watch Roy Williams and North Carolina cut down the nets.
“I think Carolina, as long as they take care of the ball and shoot it as well as they have from outside, they should have a chance to get good shots and score the ball against that [Syracuse] zone,” said Kellogg. “I just think Carolina has the most margin for error, because of the talent and balance. For that reason, I think Carolina will prevail on Monday night.”
The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has been an absolute juggernaut all season long, so the discussion wasn’t as much about who’s going to win as who has the best chance to give UConn a tough game.
“I think ultimately I’m going to have to go with UConn, but the only team that could upset them would be Oregon State,” said Catchings.
The talk surrounding UConn this season has been whether or not they’re good for women’s college basketball given their dominance. Catchings, a former NCAA champion on a dominant University of Tennessee team, knows a thing or two about this conversation.
“I think, having played on a dominant team at the University of Tennessee and even with the Olympic team, I think that’s something we fight a lot as well, with the dominance and ‘it’s not fair,'” said Catchings. “But we work hard. Just like the players on Connecticut, they work hard. They work hard to be put in that situation.”
Catchings says it’s the same on both sides. The men have had their dynasties, too.
“You’ve had that on the men’s side, too,” said Catchings. “You’ve had the North Carolinas, the Dukes; Kentucky had their run. You’ve had schools that have done great things… I feel like it’s the same thing, but now it’s looked down upon for whatever reason.”
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.