Final Four Preview

April 4, 2008

memphis.gif Memphis Tigers

Why they can win it all

This team is an absolutely mystery. They can’t hit free throws and look absolutely vulnerable. Then other games, free throws don’t matter because the Tigers will blow out their opponents by 20 points. But here is the thing… after the Mississippi State game, this team already motivated team got more motivated. They are out to prove all those people who thought this team couldn’t win because of their free throw shooting wrong. Memphis is an absolutely dominant team in all other facets of the game. They rebound, defend, shoot well, run up and down the court and can score the basketball with any team in the nation.

Player that must play well for Memphis to win

I’m going with two players. It’s the backcourt duo of Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts. The two have put up a combined 98 points in Houston and neither of their opponents came close to competing with the Tigers. If Rose and CDR perform at the level they did a week ago, Memphis will be cutting off the nets on Monday.

ucla.gif UCLA Bruins

Why they can win it all

UCLA has been in this position three straight years now. It’s the Bruins third straight appearance in the Final Four, but both teams they have been derailed by eventually champion, Florida. This year, the Bruins have the one piece they were missing the previous two years… a legitimate big man. Kevin Love is the sole reason the Bruins are more capable of winning a championship this year. I don’t care about the experience or the great guards… it’s all about the Love.

Player that must play well for UCLA to win

Again, I’m going with multiple players here. But this time, I’m going with three players… Josh Shipp, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison. Just think about the guards this team will have to match up with… Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose from Memphis, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson and Danny Green from UNC, Mario Chalmers, Sharron Collins and Brandon Rush from Kansas. The Bruins’ trio will have their hands full if they want to come out on top.

unc.gif North Carolina Tar Heels

Why they can win it all

Everybody’s favorite to win it all. The North Carolina Tar Heels are playing their best basketball of the season when it matters the most. They can win it all because they have the deepest team in the country. When Ty Lawson went down to injury, other role players really stepped it up and now with Lawson back, UNC is more capable of winning it all. Danny Green is playing unbelievable basketball. Big man Alex Stepheson and backup point guard Quentin Thomas are become more than serviceable off the bench. When you put those three guys with the stars in Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough, you currently have the best team in the nation.

Player that must play well for North Carolina to win

Tyler Hansbrough. This one is rather obvious right? Well, I didn’t pick Hansbrough because he is the best player in the country. I picked him because of North Carolina’s lack of other interior threats. Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson have been good role players, but what if Hansbrough fouls out? Do you still think this team can win the game if the game is tied with two minutes left? Hansbrough not only has to play well, but he has to be on the court.

kansas.gif Kansas Jayhawks

Why they can win it all

To me, it seems as if Kansas is the weakest number one seed in everybody’s eyes. But it’s scary that a team as talented, balanced and deep as Kansas is going relatively unnoticed in this Final Four. The Jayhawks have two greats guards (Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers) with two other very good guards (Sharron Collins and Russell Robinson) in the backcourt. They have three very good big men, one in Sasha Kaun who would be starting on a lot of other teams around the nation. Kansas had the easiest road out of any number one seed, but looked rather unimpressive against Davidson. I feel that his team will the loosest team in San Antonio, being the huge underdog against North Carolina.

Player that must play well for Kansas to win

Brandon Rush. Wow, how bad was Rush against Davidson? He was chucking up bricks from every part of the court, even looks that were wide open. But Rush is the star of this team and stars must perform late in March. If Rush has an outing like he did against Davidson (12 pts, 4-14 from the field), Kansas has no shot. Their defense is good, but unless the Jayhawks can put up 80 points, they aren’t getting past the Tar Heels.

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How My Final Four Plays Out

In the early game, I see Memphis taking out the Bruins. Too much Rose and Douglas-Roberts in this one. I just think this Memphis team has way too much athleticism for UCLA to handle.

In the late game, Kansas will prevail over UNC. Too much athleticism especially on the inside. Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun will be too much for Tyler Hansbrough and the Kansas guards will go to work against UNC. Two upsets for me…

That leaves Kansas vs. Memphis in the title game. So my national champion is…..

memphis.gifThey are great in every facet of the game other than free throws. I love Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier inside. I think they will be too much on the interior for UNC and what answer will UNC have for Rose and CDR? Memphis will cut down the nets in San Antonio on Monday.

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