Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Final Four Preview, Part One

For a complete preview of the Final Four, click here.

Best Backcourt
1. UCLA- Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo form arguably the best guard duo in the country, at both ends of the court. Russell Westbrook provides depth.
2. Ohio State- The Buckeyes’ perimeter group is deep and versatile. Mike Conley is one of the best; Ron Lewis is clutch; and Jamar Butler is very solid.
3. Florida- Taurean Green is capable of big games, while Lee Humphrey is an outstanding three-point shooter. Walter Hodge provides depth.
4. Georgetown- Often overshadowed by the Hoyas’ outstanding frontcourt, Jonathan Wallace and Jessie Sapp form a very solid duo. They are underrated.

Best Frontcourt
1. Florida- The best frontcourt trio in America. Al Horford is a beast at both ends; Joakim Noah can do a variety of things; and Corey Brewer is a great two-way player. Chris Richard provides depth.
2. Georgetown- The Hoyas have one of the better tandems in the country in Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green, both likely lottery picks. DaJuan Summers is rising quickly, and Pat Ewing is active.
3. Ohio State- Any group with Greg Oden leading the way is one of the best. He is a dominator at both ends, while Ivan Harris stretches the defense. Othello Hunter and Matt Terwilliger are solid.
4. UCLA- This group is overshadowed by the Bruins’ terrific backcourt. Josh Shipp is a big-time wing scorer; Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is versatile; and Lorenzo Mata is decent in the post.

Best Bench
1. Ohio State- According to Thad Matta, the Buckeyes have “nine starters.” Daequan Cook is a good scorer, David Lighty provides athleticism, and Othello Hunter and Matt Terwilliger are solid.
2. Florida- The Gators don’t need great production from the bench, but it’s solid. Walter Hodge is very good at both ends, Chris Richard would start for most teams, and Matt Werner is decent.
3. UCLA- Alfred Aboya leads a deep group of decent post players, Michael Roll can shoot the three with efficiency, and Russell Westbrook can play both guard spots. Versatile group.
4. Georgetown- Not a lot of depth for the Hoyas. Patrick Ewing, Jr. is active and can do several things, Vernon Macklin is athletic, and Jeremiah Rivers sees decent minutes in the backcourt.

Best Inside-Outside Combo
1. Florida (Tauren Green/Al Horford): Green is the unsung hero of the Gators' junior class, while Horford has developed into a standout player on both offense and defense for Florida.
2. Ohio State (Mike Conley/Greg Oden): Conley has developed into one of the premier point guards in the country, while Oden has the ability to dominate down low.
3. Georgetown (Jonathan Wallace/Jeff Green): Wallace is an underrated guard who can score and distribute, while Green might be the best all-around player in the country.
4. UCLA (Arron Afflalo/Luc Richard Mbah a Moute): Afflalo is one of the best two-way players in the country. Mbah a Moute is a versatile forward, but isn’t a go-to-scorer up front.

Best Trio
1. Florida (Taurean Green/Al Horford/Joakim Noah): The experience gives them the added edge over most trios. Green can play the point as well as anyone; Horford is tough to stop at both ends; and Noah is a difficult match-up. You can easily put Corey Brewer in this mix as well.
2. Ohio State (Mike Conley/Ron Lewis/Greg Oden): Terrific inside-outside balance. Conley has shown that he is one of the best point guards around; Lewis can score in a variety of ways and has been clutch for the Buckeyes; and Oden can dominate at both ends of the floor.
3. UCLA (Darren Collison/Arron Afflalo/Josh Shipp): The only thing holding this group back is its lack of an inside player. The Bruins are predicated on their perimeter play. Collison and Afflalo ater outstanding players at both ends of the court, and Shipp is a very good wing scorer.
4. Georgetown (Jonathan Wallace/Jeff Green/Roy Hibbert): A group this talented shouldn’t be in last, but that’s how good this year’s Final Four is. Green and Hibbert form one of the best frontcourt duos in the country, while Wallace is a vastly underrated point guard.

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