INDIANAPOLIS - Everybody loves the idea of Cinderella, but TV ratings prove that star power wins out every time. So this Final Four with the likes of Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State and Wisconsin, a veritable Mount Rushmore of coaches and enough talent to fill half the first round of the NBA Draft, should be a blockbuster.
The main attraction, of course, is 38-0 Kentucky, which is seeking to become the first undefeated NCAA champion since Indiana in 1976. Wildcats coach John Calipari is expected to be named to the Hall of Fame, and his roster includes surefire lottery picks Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Devin Booker, plus potential first-rounders Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson and the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, who could be second-round material.
Bo Ryan's Wisconsin team boasts possible first-rounders in Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, and the Badgers and Wildcats are staging a rematch of last year's national semifinal.
Consider that Duke-Michigan State is regarded as the "B side" Saturday night. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, who earlier this season became the first Division I coach to reach 1,000 career wins, is making his 12th Final Four appearance, tying UCLA legend John Wooden. He has potential No. 1 pick Jahlil Okafor along with possible lottery pick Justise Winslow.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has seven Final Fours on his resume. His roster isn't quite as gaudy, but Branden Dawson and Travis Trice have led the seventh-seeded Spartans on an impressive run that shows they belong in the company of three No. 1 seeds.
"This is a great Final Four," Krzyzewski said Thursday. "This Final Four has a lot of talent. It's coordinated talent that makes the other talent better. It's a piano player and the guitar player and the singer who are making each other better, not just a great piano player. That coordinated talent is why you are seeing four outstanding teams."
Izzo said, "Talent doesn't always win games." But he pointed to the Kentucky roster of McDonald's All-Americans and how Calipari has turned a collection of individual stars into a team of role players.
"With Kentucky this year, guys are willing to take on different roles, not play as many minutes, not score as many points," Izzo said. "The more talent you have, the better it is as long as it's coachable and has a team concept in mind."
Ryan noted that his Badgers ended last season against Kentucky, lost to Duke early in the season and met the Spartans three times in Big Ten play, including their overtime victory over MSU in the conference tournament title game. What impresses him about all four teams is the depth of talent.
"This Final Four, having played all the teams in the past year, there's a little bit of everything," Ryan said. "It's at a very high level."
Calipari, who is favored to win his second national title in four seasons, said he's not worried about talent level as much as simply making sure his team performs at its optimum level. "We're not stopping Wisconsin," Calipari said. "I just hope my team plays well, and we'll see how it plays out."
Many fans, along with CBS executives, hope the final is Kentucky against Duke. Krzyzewski declined to discuss the Wildcats except to compliment Calipari on blending the talents of so many top players.
"It's been good for college basketball that you've been talking about a team instead of talking about freshmen or individuals," Krzyzewski said. "This year it's a renewal of what college basketball should be -- it's about teams. Kentucky's been a great team."
Four great teams reached Indy. We'll see if Kentucky is best of the best.