Monday, March 15, 2010

Top 12 Frontcourts


Although the common belief is that guards win in March, teams with just guards do not usually make it to the Final Four. Rebounding and post presence are also keys to success. The following teams have the best frontcourts heading into March:

1. West Virginia: The Mountaineers have a fantastic forward trio in Da’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones. All three are match-up problems.

2. Kentucky: The Wildcats are led by two of the best players in the country in DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson. Don’t forget Daniel Orton.

3. Syracuse: If Arinze Onuaku is healthy, the Orange are tough up front. Wesley Johnson is an All-American, and Kris Joseph is a great sixth man.

4. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have two potential lottery picks on the low block in Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors, a couple of dominant big men.

5. Kansas: Cole Aldrich’s numbers have slipped this season, but he’s still one of the best centers. Marcus and Markieff Morris provide scoring and rebounding.

6. Butler: The Bulldogs are led by Gordon Hayward, a great shooter and scorer, and Matt Howard, a solid big man who needs to dominate more often.

7. Vanderbilt: The Commodores have the pieces to make a run, starting with forward Jeffery Taylor and Australian big man A.J. Ogilvy down low.

8. Marquette: The Golden Eagles are extremely undersized, but forwards Lazar Hayward and Jimmy Butler pose match-up nightmares for opponents.

9. Siena: The Saints have all the pieces. Edwin Ubiles is a versatile scorer; Alex Franklin dominates the paint; and Ryan Rossiter can rebound well.

10. Northern Iowa: The Panthers have scoring forward Adam Koch and 7-foot center Jordan Eglseder. This isn’t your normal mid-major bunch.

11. San Diego State: The underrated Aztecs have three athletic forwards on the frontline in Kawhi Leonard, Malcolm Thomas and Billy White.

12. UTEP: Don’t overlook the Miners. Derrick Caracter and Arnett Moultrie could be future pros, while Jeremy Williams is another scorer and rebounder.


  1. Clearly Duke falls short here with Brian Zoubek (although he has played much better in the second half despite still looking awkward as hell), but how do you account for a guy like Kyle Singler...Not a guard, not really a front court guy either, but his versatility creates tremendous match up problems defensively for teams...

    Also, everyone seems to be taking Villanova over Duke should that match up come to I the only one who thinks that Nova is overrated (though Duke might be too) and that, beyond Scottie Reynolds, Nova doesn't really have any playmakers and certainly doesn't seem to have any presence in the paint to even get that far, or at least stretch the Duke defense for Reynolds (note their beatdown at the hands of Syracuse)?

  2. Great question -- and pretty solid analysis too.

    Singler is an absolute match-up nightmare for opponents, and I think he's going to have to be the key for the Blue Devils if they're going to make a run. Every potential opponent they have (besides maybe Louisville) doesn't really have a player that can guard him. If Purdue was healthy, Singler vs. Robbie Hummel would have been a fantastic battle.

    As for Villanova, I think the Wildcats are completely overrated. They struggled mightily down the stretch of the season, and still somehow garnered a two seed. Reynolds is clutch, and Corey Fisher can get to the basket on anyone. However, 'Nova fouls far too often, plays mediocre defense and, as you mentioned, lacks consistent big guys. This isn't last year's Final Four team -- they're not going to have a repeat trip to the national semis.

    However, I also think that Duke is overrated. The Blue Devils have three scorers: Singler, Scheyer and Smith. Notice they needed Zoubek to have a Herculean effort against Maryland in order to win -- they simply don't have a ton of impressive wins to hang their hat on. When one of the Big Three is struggling or Duke isn't hitting its outside shots, this can go home early. I think that California would be a very difficult match-up in the second round for Duke.

    For the Final Four coming out of this region, I'm'll have to wait until Thursday morning.