Everyone and his brother, including my esteemed colleague David Steele, believes North Carolina has this championship in the bag. Even the president picked it in his ESPN bracket, and other than Maryland, the Tar Heels are the only Atlantic Coast Conference team that didn't totally embarrass the commander in chief.
But you know who is going to cut down the nets Monday? Connecticut. And even if the Huskies have to give this title back in a few years if we find out they were all represented by agents, it won't change the fact that right now, they're playing with purpose and playing the best basketball in America.
Motivation matters in college sports. The Huskies are a little irked that their coach is under fire after a Yahoo Sports report alleged a member of Jim Calhoun's staff used the help of an agent to land a recruit. They want to win it all for him, especially after he missed the first game of the tournament while in the hospital with health problems.
Size matters, too. The Tar Heels might have Tyler Hansbrough, who is usually able to have his way on the inside against most teams, but Connecticut has 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet, a defensive monster. It also has A.J. Price, a big point guard who can handle other guards defensively. Mostly though, Connecticut has the right mix of youth and experience. The Tar Heels are under a ton of pressure to win because Ty Lawson seems likely to leave for the NBA and a national title is the only reason Hansbrough came back. Playing without pressure but with a big chip on its shoulder, UConn will bring home another title for Coach Calhoun.