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Coach's insight (cont.)

Posted: Friday April 4, 2008 3:44PM; Updated: Friday April 4, 2008 3:44PM
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SI.com: Looking at these two teams, is there a factor that stands out above all others that may decide Saturday's game?

Hewitt: Which playmaker has a better game, and it doesn't have to be point guard. Who can create a basket? Lawson, Hansbrough, Chalmers, [Brandon] Rush. That's why I give a slight edge to Carolina. They are a team that can get a basket in a freelance situation. I anticipate a lot of possessions in this game coming down to that because Kansas is a really good defensive team and Carolina will be prepared to take away what Kansas likes to do, especially off the ball-screens. Given that scenario, it is going to come down to, who has a playmaker that can make a play with less than 15 seconds on the shot clock?

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SI.com: When you look back at your 2004 Final Four experience, what do you remember about the days leading up to the games in terms of distractions?

Hewitt: Our administration and staff did a good job trying to keep a regular schedule. We got the guys off to class, and we didn't even practice on Monday or Tuesday after winning in St. Louis on Sunday. We got to work on Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We tried to keep the week as normal as possible. We tried to keep the media requests down, make sure they went to study halls and keep things regular.

SI.com: Was there a moment you remember where it hit you that was like, "Hey, we're at the Final Four." Or, "We just won a game at the Final Four"?

Hewitt: Talking to Jim Nantz and Billy Packer after Will Bynum made that shot [to beat Oklahoma State]. I saw the other two teams coming out onto the court and I was like, "Holy smokes. We're going to play one of these teams for the national championship on Monday night." That was the first time it hit me. Up until then, you get so focused on that Saturday opponent, you don't think about a lot of that stuff. When you go out on the court for practice on Friday, you feel it a little bit, but again you are so concerned with your opponent. But doing that interview, and I look over my shoulder and there comes Duke and UConn, and I'm like, "We're still standing. We'll see one of them on Monday."

SI.com: Finally, a prediction for UNC-Kansas.

Hewitt: Carolina because Hansbrough and Lawson, in a tight game, can make plays. Hansbrough is a great free throw shooter. The only thing that can offset that is if Rush has a career game. As talented as he is, there are times when he is reluctant to take the game over. You don't have to worry about that with Hansbrough. He'll take the game over when the time comes. That's kind of why I lean towards Carolina.

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