Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Final Four Preview, Part Two

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

Best Go-to-Guy
1. Ty Lawson, North Carolina: With his combination of strength and unbelievable quickness, Lawson can get into the lane on anybody in the country. He creates plays for himself and teammates.
2. A.J. Price, Connecticut: Price is one of the better clutch players in the country. He can pull up from well beyond the arc, and also get past his defender to finish in the lane.
3. Scottie Reynolds, Villanova: If anyone witnessed his shot against Pittsburgh, they know that Reynolds is the man the Wildcats look to when they need a basket.
4. Kalin Lucas, Michigan State: Lucas is so quick that he is difficult for defenders to stay in front of. He single-handedly led the Spartans to a comeback win over Kansas.

Best Three-Point Shooter
1. Corey Stokes, Villanova: Even though he comes off the bench, Stokes is a fantastic three-point marksman. On a team filled with shooters, he stands out.
2. A.J. Price, Connecticut: The only consistent outside threat the Huskies have, Price has improved his three-point shot considerably during his time at UConn.
3. Wayne Ellington, North Carolina: One of the best pure shooters in the game, Ellington has the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers as well as threes.
4. Chris Allen, Michigan State: The Spartans don't shoot a ton of threes, but Allen is their designated outside gunner. He needs to develop consistency, though.

Best Second Option
1. Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina: Hansbrough as a second option? This year, yes. He is one of the most dominant inside players of the last decade, though.
2. Dante Cunningham, Villanova: The most improved player in the Big East, Cunninghamm is tough to stop down low and can also step out and hit mid-range jumpers.
3. Jeff Adrien, Connecticut: Adrien has been extremely key this season. His ability to hit shots from the foul line and finish inside makes him an underrated scorer.
4. Raymar Morgan, Michigan State: He didn't take the anticipated step this season, but that was due to walking pneumonia. Morgan is very tough to defend.

Best Sixth Man
1. Corey Fisher, Villanova: Fisher was the Big East's Sixth Man of the Year, and for good reason. He is absolutely fearless driving to the basket and finishing in the lane.
2. Kemba Walker, Connecticut: Walker is one of the reasons for the Huskies' Final Four berth. He is outrageously quick and is not afraid to push the ball in transition.
3. Ed Davis, North Carolina: Davis is a future lottery pick, despite the fact that he doesn't start. He is an excellent rebounder and can score inside when he gets chances.
4. Chris Allen, Michigan State: The Spartans don't have one particular sixth man, but Allen is their leading bench scorer and their highest-volume three-point shooter.

Best Coach
1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State: In a Final Four filled with outstanding coaches, Izzo stands out because of his past Final Four experience and his NCAA Tournament success. Every player to play all four years under Izzo at MSU has reached at least one Final Four.
2. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut: 1999. 2004. 2009? Calhoun, despite the current off-court problems, is one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history and knows how to win.
3. Roy Williams, North Carolina: Williams has a chance to win his second national title in the past five years. The Tar Heels have an enormous amount of talent, but he kept the egos in check.
4. Jay Wright, Villanova: Wright is the least experienced of the coaching quartet, but he has consistently won games in the NCAA Tournament has does not back down from anyone.

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