After a weekend of some great basketball, the final 4 is set, and save for a few surprises (Villanova and Michigan st.) it is very close to what many had predicted. With UNC playing Villanova and Michigan St. facing off against UConn; this weekend is sure to impress viewers.
So…on to the matchups.
#1 UNC VS. #3 Villanova
After an impressive win against Gonzaga and Oklahoma this weekend, UNC seems to be firing on all cylinders. Ty Lawson’s toe injury, which many thought would hinder his performance (including myself); it proved to be nothing more than a slight nuisance as they easily took care of both opponents this weekend. Villanova looked impressive this weekend as well after making Duke look like a #16 seed. Their game against Pitt on Saturday evening went down to the wire as Scottie Reynolds took the ball all the way down the court to hit a lay up as time expired. While they did not run Pitt off the court as they did to Duke and UCLA, they looked equally as impressive. This, however, is going to be a very tough game for Villanova, as they will have the job of trying to contain Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, all players who can spot up at any time and hit from just about anywhere. The very deep Villanova team can definitely match up with UNC, as they have some height with Dante Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson and Corey Stokes. But UNC definitely gets the advantage on that one. Nova’s guard play gives them a slight advantage in the backcourt with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher who can both penetrate and dish, or just take it straight to the basket with relative ease. In a close game, UNC pulls this one out. But it would not surprise anyone if Nova comes out strong and plays with them all game.
#1 UConn VS. #2 Michigan St.
Michigan State has been impressive all season. With a couple of bad losses as well as taking some heat for being in a less than elite Big Ten conference, they had a lot to prove this NCAA tournament. After barely holding off Kansas in their elite eight match up they came out strong against Louisville, easily knocking off the overall #1 seed. UConn on the other hand, has been at the top of the Big East all season – which has arguably been the best conference (this year) in NCAA history. After losing one of their top scorers in Jerome Dyson, nobody thought UConn would be able to take it all the way. Now, with unlikely supporting cast members such as Stanley Robinson and Kemba walker stepping it up, it doesn’t seem as if they miss Dyson too much. Louisville, while extremely talented, did not have the height or size to contain Goran Suton, the Michigan St. center who defenders could find no answer for on Sunday. Additionally, UConn has all-powerful Hasheem Thabeet. At 7’3 he is one of the best…if not the best defender in NCAA basketball right now. Offensively he is great as well, but he just has a knack for blocking and altering shots, which he will do in bunches this Saturday. Between A.J Price, Jeff Adrien and Thabeet, I believe UConn has what it takes to handle Michigan St., as I believe they are a better matchup for Michigan St. than Louisville was.
I think UConn comes out strong and puts Michigan St. down with ease to set up the National Championship match up of UConn and UNC a week from today.
Thoughts? Comments? Sound off in the comments below.
- Analysis: On to Detroit, With Michigan State Leading the Cheers (nytimes.com)
- East: No. 3 Villanova 78, No. 1 Pittsburgh 76: Last-Second Shot Sends Villanova Past Pitt and Into Final Four (nytimes.com)
- UNC cruises to 2nd straight Final Four (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- Opinion: ‘Nova’s rout caps statement for Big East (nbcsports.msnbc.com)
- NCAA tournament: Tourney finds bright spot with Hansbrough-Griffin matchup (sports.espn.go.com)