Final Four Primer

Posted by rtmsf on April 1st, 2008

Here’s a quick look at some odds and ends from each of the 2008 Final Four teams, while we’re busily getting ready for our preview later this week:

North Carolina (#1 seed East)

how they got here: blitzkrieged the East region pretenders (MSM, Arkansas, Wazzu, Louisville) by an average of 25.3 ppg

why they’ll win it all:  no other team has as much balanced offensive firepower as Lawson & Hansbrough

why they won’t:  ol’ Roy can’t win the Big One with his own players 

strengths:  offensive rebounding (#1 nationally) and FT shooting (76%) avoids long scoring droughts

kryptonite:  athletic defensive-minded teams such as Clemson & Virginia Tech gave them trouble – all three other #1 seeds fit the bill here

key stat:  Carolina is 22-0 away from Chapel Hill this season

Kansas (#1 seed Midwest)

how they got here:   without playing an elite team yet (seeds #16, #8, #12, #10)

why they’ll win it all:  no team has a better combination of explosive offense with shutdown defense than KU

why they won’t:  need we say it?  Bill Self teams play tight as a drum under pressure

strengths:  great shooting team (#6 nationally from two; #8 nationally from three) 

kryptonite:  teams that can turn them over can beat Kansas (Oklahoma St. and Kansas St. did just that); lucky for them, none of the remaining four teams are tremendous at causing TOs

key stat:  KU almost shoots as well from three (40.1%) as its opponents shoot from two (40.9%)

Memphis (#1 seed South)

how they got here:   handily, with three blowouts and one shoulda-been (vs. Miss. St.) but wasn’t because of poor foul shooting

why they’ll win it all:  they have an NBA-quality PG named Derrick Rose who gets off on taking over big games (witness his 19.4 ppg average against BCS teams this year)

why they won’t:  the Tigers aren’t as tested as the other three teams still standing; they’ve played three close games all season (2-1)

strengths:  athletic and long jumping jacks who lock up shooters (#8 nationally in FG% defense from two and #7 from three)

kryptonite:  that old Calipari bugaboo – 60.7% from the line is fine in blowouts, but not in close games

key stat:  one loss by four points – 39-1 would make this an all-time great team

UCLA (#1 seed West)

how they got here:   by allowing only 53.3 ppg in four Tourney games

why they’ll win it all:  experience – all but Love have seen the F4 at least once before (and thankfully, Florida isn’t around this time)

why they won’t:  prolonged scoring droughts are fine against Pac-10 foes, but won’t fly against offensive juggernauts such as the other three #1 seeds

strengths:  everything on the defensive end – steals (#11 nationally), blocks (#13), efficiency (#2)

kryptonite:  a poor shooting night (<40%) against an athletic team dooms the Bruins, no matter how good their defense is

key stat:  12 – Howland wants to get his gold C while the Wizard of Westwood is still alive

rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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