Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Final Four Preview, Part Two

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

Best Go-to-Guy

1. Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia: Butler was arguably the most clutch player in college basketball this season, knocking down six game-winning shots. He can score in a variety of ways, and is not afraid of contact at the rim.

2. Gordon Hayward, Butler: He demonstrated against Kansas State that he will take over offensively if necessary. His shooting numbers are down this season, but his ability to take defenders off the dribble has improved greatly.

3. Nolan Smith, Duke: Smith is only Duke’s third-leading scorer, but he might be the most difficult player on the team to defend. He has a great first step and can get to the rim or knock down mid-range shots. He can also shoot the three.

4. Durrell Summers, Michigan State: Without Kalin Lucas running the show, Summers has become the team’s best scorer. He has the ability to knock down the three with effectiveness, and can also drive past defenders.

Best Three-Point Shooter

1. Zach Hahn, Butler: Hahn took the fourth-highest number of three-pointers on the team, but he was by far the most accurate. The lefty is not afraid to take the big shot and has deep range from nearly anywhere on the court.

2. Jon Scheyer, Duke: Scheyer’s three-point percentage is not indicative of how good of a three-point shooter he is. He struggled at times in the early part of the NCAA Tournament, but seems to be finding his stroke again.

3. Chris Allen, Michigan State: Despite an injury, Allen is still the Spartans’ most effective three-point shooter. He is knocking down more than 40 percent of his three-point attempts and has versatile shooting range.

4. Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia: The Mountaineers don’t have an abundance of accurate three-point shooters, but Butler is the best of the bunch. He was hot from behind the arc against Kentucky, and has solid range.

Best Second Option

1. Kyle Singler, Duke: Take your pick for this one, between Singler and Nolan Smith. Singler is a match-up nightmare for defenders, due to his ability to knock down the outside shot as well as score around the basket.

2. Shelvin Mack, Butler: Mack has come up big several times in the last month. He is very strong for a point guard and can beat his defender off the dribble with ease. Mack is also a good three-point shooter who can get hot.

3. Kevin Jones, West Virginia: Jones is one of the more underrated players left in the NCAA Tournament. He can score with his back to the basket, but can also step out and hit the three-pointer with effectiveness.

4. Raymar Morgan, Michigan State: Morgan is a versatile combo forward who has been inconsistent throughout his career. He creates match-up problems due to his ability to score inside or outside, and with his athleticism.

Best Sixth Man

1. Draymond Green, Michigan State: Green might have been the best sixth man in the country. He is a versatile big man who can take defenders off the dribble and create shots. Green is also a tremendously effective rebounder.

2. Miles Plumlee, Duke: The older of the Plumlee brothers started at the beginning of the season, but has since moved to the bench in favor of Brian Zoubek. Plumlee can really rebound the ball and can also provide scoring.

3. Zach Hahn, Butler: He tends to take bad shots at times, but Hahn can really stroke the three. The lefty has deep range and is the team’s best three-point shooter. He has also hit some clutch jumpers in various games this season.

4. John Flowers, West Virginia: With Joe Mazzulla moving into the starting lineup, Flowers is the primary option off the bench for the Mountaineers. He can rebound well, and is very athletic. He also runs the floor well.

Best Coach

1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State: Izzo might be the best coach in basketball, at any level. He has reached back-to-back Final Fours and six in the last 12 years. Every player who has played under him for four years has reached a Final Four.

2. Mike Kryzewski, Duke: Coach K has done an excellent job this season without much size up front or depth in the backcourt. He’s experienced in the Final Four and will not be surprised by anything an opponent throws at him.

3. Bob Huggins, West Virginia: Of course he doesn’t look all that impressive on the sideline, but Huggins is an excellent defensive coach whose zone tendencies have transformed West Virginia into the team it is.

4. Brad Stevens, Butler: He looks like a 16-year old but Stevens is a mild-mannered rising star. He gets the most out of his players and helped the Bulldogs stay focused and get to the Final Four after a rough start to the season.

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