Saturday, April 5, 2008

Final Four Preview

Sorry folks for the delay.  David Rutz, Will Gibbons and I run through what it will take for each Final Four to emerge as the NCAA Champions.

Kansas (Gibbons)

The best thing about the Kansas Jayhawks is the depth of talent they have. Anyone in their top seven players is capable of putting up a 20-point performance. That makes preparing for the Jayhawks very difficult. With two seniors and three seniors, Kansas also brings experience to the final four. As Fox Sports writer Jeffrey Martin points out, if you combine the seniors departing (Russell Robinson, Sasha Kahn, Darnell Jackson) with the underclassmen expected to test the NBA waters (Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur, Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers), this group knows this is their one big chance to shine. When the teams are as evenly matched as they are this year, the mental game counts for a lot, so this is a big motive. We had to go with the bread and butter “Rock-Chalk, Jayhawk” for the video.


North Carolina (Rutz)

North Carolina steamrolled its way to the Final Four, and the Heels area bout to roll to another national title. North Carolina simply has too much offensive firepower for any of the other teams left to handle. Love him or hate him, Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough is a beast underneath and a flat-out competitor who’s hungry to give his team a championship. On the outside, Wayne Ellington always seems to hit the big shot,and Ty Lawson is a steady force at point. Coach Roy Williams has been here before, and UNC hasn’t lost in two months. Add it all up and you can bet that the Tar Heels will be champions come Monday.


UCLA (Robie)

In the last few years, the NCAA champions have been loaded with NBA lottery picks.  Recall UNC in 2005 with Sean May, Ray Felton, Rashad McCants, and Marvin Williams.   The Florida Gators were led with Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer.  UCLA is the only team that has that sort of depth of star power.  Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Darren Collison all project to be lottery picks.  Add Mbah-Moute to the mix, and this team is as well-rounded as any, not to mentioned experienced.  Third times a charm, expect the law of averages to help the Bruins reignite a Wooden-like dynasty.  


Memphis (Robie)


The us against the world mentality might have something to it.  Memphis has been steamrolling over their opponents, as the 50-20 halftime score against Michigan State seemed to prove.  Derrick Rose has emerged as the best player in the country—playing with the poise of tournament veteran.  Chris Douglas-Roberts is silky smooth and Joey Dorsey makes noise in the paint, especially on the defensive end.  They’ve only had one hiccup all season long (Tennessee) and they continue to improve and show a mean streak.   The poor free throw talk hasn’t been an issue in the tournament, especially because the team’s prime ball handlers all shoot well.           





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