March Madness preview
Amidst the latest swirl of predictions, there is one certainty this March. His name is Emeka Okafor.
Leading the nation in blocked shots and double-doubles, UConn center Emeka Okafor is much more than a six-foot-ten, 250-pound shutdown machine. He's a scholar. It's a fact, he's just as dominant in the classroom as he is on the court. But of course, his grades aren't what will lead his team to the center of the brackets.
Averaging over 18 points per game in the regular season, Okafor has done much more than fulfill his duties as UConn's top defender. He's made a name for himself as an offensive player as well by becoming one of only four active NCAA players, and the only junior, to surpass the 1,000 point mark.
As long as his back stands up to the beating he bestows upon his opponents, it's looking more and more likely that Okafor will add National Champion to his long list of achievements. You should know that he is currently second in rebounding in the nation and that he isn't too bad at consistently putting the ball right back into the hoop, with a shooting percentage ranking at twenty-second.
So consider it a given that if his back remains spasm-less, Okafor will lead UConn to the National Championship.
And let's not forget, shooting guard Ben Gordon is also a force to watch – he proved his ability well enough in the last three games of the season, with 20 plus points in each. If he can continue this trend and combine it with some of Okafor's magic, UConn will win the National Championship.
So, not that it matters in the end, but who will UConn have to beat to get there? In terms of final four action, the answer would have to be Duke. Forget the fact that Arizona is looking promising, trust me, play it safe and just Duke this one out.
So, Duke and UConn so far. Predictable enough. How about the left side? Not much different over there; Oklahoma State and Kentucky will likely get to the final four and fight for the opportunity to lose to UConn. The winner between them will be Oklahoma State.
But remember, as long as lightning doesn't strike, UConn will take 2004. And if lightning does strike, just look for Okafor to deflect it.
Kedamai Fisseha. Kedamai Fisseha sorely misses the computer lab where Silver Chips was born and is daily reborn. He is currently living and writing from London, England where he is glad for the chance to continue his participation in the organization. More »