Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Final Four Preview, Part One

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

Best Backcourt

1. Duke: Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith carried the Blue Devils offensively in the Elite Eight against Baylor, and they form one of the top duos in the country. Both can score from inside and outside the arc.

2. Butler: A vastly underrated duo. Shelvin Mack is capable of getting to the rim against most defenders, and he is the prime perimeter scorer for the Bulldogs. Ronald Nored might be the best on-ball defender left.

3. Michigan State: Even without Kalin Lucas, the Spartans have a solid perimeter group. Korie Lucious has played well as his replacement, while Durrell Summers is scoring at will. Chris Allen is a solid scorer.

4. West Virginia: The Mountaineers have not received consistent guard play all season, but Joe Mazzulla lit up Kentucky for 17 points in the Elite Eight. Darryl Bryant is expected to return for the Final Four.

Best Frontcourt

1. West Virginia: The Mountaineers are loaded with versatile combo forwards. Da’Sean Butler is supremely clutch, Devin Ebanks is an excellent all-around player, and Kevin Jones is an inside-outside scorer.

2. Butler: With the way Gordon Hayward has been playing, he could be a first-round pick. Matt Howard is a good scorer and rebounder in the paint, and Willie Veasley is effective despite being undersized.

3. Duke: The Blue Devils’ frontcourt has been overlooked all season. Kyle Singler is a difficult match-up at forward, while Brian Zoubek has blossomed into a solid rebounder down low. Lance Thomas works hard.

4. Michigan State: The Spartans have three versatile players in the frontcourt, starting with combo forwards Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe. Sixth man Draymond Green can beat defenders off the bounce and rebound.

Best Bench

1. Duke: The Blue Devils have a variety of options in the frontcourt, starting with the Plumlee brothers, Mason and Miles. Andre Dawkins is the lone perimeter bench player; he can really stroke the three from deep.

2. Michigan State: With Draymond Green and Chris Allen both coming off the bench, the Spartans might have the two best bench players in the Final Four. Garrick Sherman has provided serviceable minutes down low.

3. Butler: The Bulldogs aren’t explosive off the bench, but they get the job done. Zach Hahn can shoot the three from all over the court; Shawn Vanzant is an aggressive defender; and Avery Jukes can score.

4. West Virginia: The Mountaineers aren’t overly deep, but they get what they need. Joe Mazzulla has been a spark off the bench in the backcourt, while John Flowers has provided steady scoring and rebounding.

Best Inside-Outside Combo

1. Butler: When Matt Howard isn’t in foul trouble, he is an effective scorer and rebounder in the post. Gordon Hayward’s shooting has been off this season, but he is an unstoppable scorer at times.

2. Michigan State: Durrell Summers has played outstanding on the offensive end in the NCAA Tournament, especially since Kalin Lucas went down with an injury. Raymar Morgan is a tough match-up.

3. Duke: Jon Scheyer blossomed into an All-American this season at the point guard position; he has been a huge key for the Blue Devils. Brian Zoubek has come on strong towards the end of the season.

4. West Virginia: The Mountaineers don’t have any true inside or outside players. They are carried by their versatile forwards, but Joe Mazzulla can provide offense in spurts and Kevin Jones has a nice inside game.

Best Trio

1. Duke: The Blue Devils have three of the best players left in the NCAA Tournament in guards Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, and forward Kyle Singler. All three can score in a variety of ways and carry Duke.

2. West Virginia: The Mountaineers have match-up nightmares galore, led by forward Da’Sean Butler. Throw in Devin Ebanks and his versatility, and Kevin Jones’ inside-outside scoring, and this team is tough.

3. Butler: The Bulldogs are balanced, but Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward make the team go on the perimeter. Both are adept at driving to the basket. Inside, Matt Howard has nice post moves and can finish.

4. Michigan State: Without Kalin Lucas, the perimeter offense starts with Durrell Summers, who has played well lately. Inside, Raymar Morgan and Draymond Green create match-up problem with their skill sets.

1 comment:

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