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2014 Final Four: Let's Talk Coaching
By Reel Robinson

We have reached the pinnacle of college basketball, the biggest moment in some of these young athletes mind the NCAA Final Four. Although, I like to focus on the players on the court, it takes a stern mind to put together a team that possess chemistry, talent and ambition to make it this far in the tournament. Each team in the Final Four battled competitive roads to get their chance to play for a National Title. Three of the teams (Kentucky, Florida, and Connecticut) have won titles in the last decade and the other (Wisconsin) will be seeking to seize their opportunity this time around. With all that being said, there are four coaches who stand at the helm of these respected programs that seem to have the uncanny recipe to win games. Coaching is a major part in how a team approaches a game. I want to take the opportunity to compare and contrast the participating programs head guys.

Billy Donovan, Florida Gators: Donovan has been at Florida for 18 years now and has one of the most heralded resumes in college sports. After winning back-to-back championships in 2007-08 with future NBA impact players Joekim Noah (Chicago Bulls), Udonnis Haslem (Miami Heat), and Cory Brewer leading the way, Donovan has continued to display one of the most consistent programs in the country. Those two titles and countless deep runs in the NCAA tournament will etch Billy Donovan on the Hall of Fame wall permanently sometime in the future. He has been able to mold great guards and prepare players for long productive careers in the professional realm. Although I am no Gator fan to say the least, I have an utmost respect for their head coach and I expect his experience in big games to be an asset in Saturday’s matchup against second year head coach of UConn Kevin Ollie.

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin Badgers: As a Big Ten supporter, I have seen coach Ryan turn Wisconsin into one of the conference's  powerhouse programs. His ability to get the most out of his players has led him to his first Final Four as a Division 1 head coach. Ryan has four Division 3 titles in his early coaching years, but until now has been held without even an appearance in championship weekend in the competitive Division 1. He has without question his most balance team from inside to the perimeter. Representing the toughest conference in the country, his battle tested team will take that into the Final Four matchup against Kentucky this weekend.John Calipari

John Calipari, Kentucky Wildcats: What can you say about Coach Calipari? The guru of recruiting has stuck to his name by compounding a freshmen led team once again that will challenge for a championship. His ability to get the full stint of talent out of his young players is his magic and has been for many years. He is a master of position placement, allowing his players talents to shine. Calipari will be in his third Final Four since taking over at Kentucky. His team has hit their stride at the perfect moment in the season. After already defeating three teams from the 2013 Final Four, he now has his eyes on lifting that National Title for the second time and beating a Wisconsin team who took down a solid No. 1 seed Arizona. He's starting five freshmen who play a lot older than their age, and with much more energy now than how they started the season. His Kentucky team is scary, will be a hard out for the Badgers, and they could lead to another championship for the veteran head coach.

Kevin Ollie, Connecticut Huskies: The second year coach has a lot to be excited for right now. After taking over for coaching legend Jim Calhoun, Ollie has helped turn his Huskies into a viable threat to win the title. Facing a great Florida Gators team, Ollie still has one of the only blueprints to beat the No. 1 seed since his squad was the last team to defeat them back in December. Starting his head coaching career behind a legend and with a team that faced a one-year ban from the NCAA tournament, Ollie has done the unthinkable by leading his veteran squad to another Final Four. He does have help with senior guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright controlling the floor, who seem to have found their identity during this postseason run. Playing some of the best ball of the year at the right time, the No. 1 seed Gators will need to play at their best to beat this hungry Huskies team.

My coaches always taught me that the game was won in the film room. Each team has had a week to prepare for each other and that means each coach has examined (and over examined) their opponent's habits and weaknesses, searching for ways to orchestrate matchup problems. This will come down to who did their homework the best. Which coaches do you think will make the right adjustments and put their team in the right positions to get to the National Title game? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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