Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/30/2008 10:55:00 PM
Final Four Preview: All Aboard The Disrespected Express
Joey Dorsey and the Tigers cut down the nets after beating Texas. But are they still the underdogs?
HOUSTON -- When Memphis, the team that had overwhelmed Texas with a show of defensive athleticism unlike anything seen thus far in the NCAA tournament, went to cut down the nets for its trip across the Lone Star State to the Final Four, the process was was surprisingly ... businesslike. The Tigers' two seniors, guard Andre Allen and forward Joey Dorsey, went to opposite ends of the floor, and they alone took scissors and unceremoniously snipped all the strands, then placed the nets around their necks. As Dorsey completed his job on the ladder, one of the players below him shouted, "We ain't done yet!" After that, as junior star Chris Douglas-Roberts, a first-team All-America who led the Tigers with 25 points, explained, "I just walked off the court. I expected this."
What most of the nation did not expect was a field in San Antonio of four No. 1 seeds for the first time in the history of the Dance: North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, and the Tigers. And given the way Memphis stormed through the South Regional, beating Michigan State (an average team) and Texas (a very good team) by 18 points each, do John Calipari's boys now have to be considered the favorites? That would be a scenario Calipari would truly dislike: He admitted that he "loved" the fact that Memphis was the No. 1 seed most-picked to lose before the Final Four, and his players and fans have been riding their coach's Disrespected Express all the way to the Alamodome. All the "hate" -- that's Dorsey's word for it -- on Memphis only helps Cal motivate.
Douglas-Roberts, who as a junior is the team's level-headed veteran leader, perceives matchups through that slighted lens; when asked about UCLA in the locker room, he said it would be the same old story: "Once again, we're the underdog, and once again, we're the more relaxed team." But CD-R also acknowledged the momentum Memphis will be carrying into next weekend. "We've just peaked, and we're playing really well right now." And that, as we break down the Final Four, matters far more than any issues of respect. The Tigers may no longer be underdogs.
South Region Champ: Memphis
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Tournament Identity: While Douglas-Roberts is the same old reliable scoring threat for the Tigers, using his "old-man moves," as Derrick Rose calls them, to get open mid-range looks, three new developments have fueled this March explosion. The biggest is that Rose has made the jump from simply being a freakish athlete to an elite floor general, averaging 24 points with a 4.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the past two rounds. Even though Rose said, "I don't know what I'm doing when I'm out there; I'm just trying to make plays, and make sure we're in a good little groove," he seems to know what he's doing now more than ever.
Just as importantly for the Tigers, Dorsey has been revived and is once against playing like a beast on the interior. The double-doubles he put up against Mississippi State and Texas were his best group of games since February. And finally, Memphis is actually making its free throws. The Tigers shot over 74 percent in only seven games all season, and two of them (83.3 percent against Texas and 74.1 percent against Michigan State) came this weekend.
How To Let Them Beat You: Allow Rose and Douglas-Roberts to get into the lane at will. They combined for 46 points against Texas and took just four three-point attempts, making one. Obviously this is easier said than done, but the 'Horns failed miserably at it; their array of zones (even a box-and-one at one point) did not seal off driving lanes for Memphis' stars. The Tigers' shot charts from both halves were almost entirely concentrated in and around the lane. They're not a great outside-shooting team, but it didn't matter on Sunday.
How To Beat Them: Don't turn the ball over. The Tigers' defense is largely predicated on creating steals early in possessions, and Texas allowed them to score nine early points off of turnovers -- including four by D.J. Augustin. Was there any surprise, then, that the 'Horns trailed by 11 at half? Once Memphis picks your pocket, its guards get out in transition ... and they're too fast to be caught.
West Region Champ: UCLA
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Tournament Identity: The Bruins have been riding Kevin Love. Their freshman power forward averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds in Phoenix, and is viewed as the ingredient they were missing in their past two deep tourney runs, which had unhappy endings at the hands of Florida. Xavier coach Sean Miller -- after strangely praising Love by comparing him to the 25-year-olds on Athletes in Action teams that Miller used to face in college -- said that "getting to the Final Four with a go-to-player ... could allow them to win the national championship." With his array of fadeaways (against Texas A&M), interior banging (against Western Kentucky) and three-pointers (against the Musketeers), Love has been almost unstoppable. He and his Bruins teammates have also been extremely adept at getting to the free-throw line, holding a 77-55 advantage in attempts at the charity stripe during the NCAA tournament.
How To Let Them Beat You: Botch your block-out assignments on the defensive glass. UCLA was seventh in the country in offensive rebounding percentage this season, grabbing 39.7 percent of available boards. The Bruins were relentless on that end in Phoenix, pulling down 49.3 percent of offensive boards (17) against Western Kentucky and 46.0 percent against Xavier (12). It's not just Love doing the dirty-work, either: guard Russell Westbrook and backup forward James Keefe had six apiece against the Hilltoppers, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had seven against the Muskies.
How To Beat Them: Keep the ball out of point guard Darren Collison's hands late in the shot clock. While Westbrook is good in transition, Collison is UCLA's only real playmaker off the dribble in halfcourt sets -- and he's also by far the Bruins' best three-point shooter. He's the king of the dagger shot, and releases his long-distance bombs from so far above his head that they're tough to defend.
Midwest Region Champ: Kansas
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Tournament Identity: While Brandon Rush has asserted himself somewhat during the Dance -- he leads the KU in shot attempts, and was its leading scorer against Portland State and Villanova -- the Jayhawks remain an extremely balanced team with seven players capable of putting up double-digits on any given night. Case in point: Seventh man Sasha Kaun had 13 points and six boards against Davidson and was named to the all-tournament team in Detroit. Coach Bill Self called him KU's "second-half player of the game."
Kansas' offense, which ranks second in the nation in efficiency behind only North Carolina, wasn't running in its highest gear in Detroit, scoring just 0.968 points per possession against Davidson and a slightly better 1.078 PPP against Villanova. But the Jayhawks are still winning the rebounding battle in every tournament game (they were plus-15 this weekend) and exhibiting defensive toughness on key possessions like the Wildcats' final play, on which KU doubled Stephen Curry and forced him to give up the ball.
How To Let Them Beat You: Succumb to the defensive pressure of Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson in the backcourt. They're the best quick-hands duo in the nation, combining for 4.4 steals per game, and Chalmers is amazingly good at sneaking into passing lanes and turning interceptions into fastbreak layups. Davidson was able to keep Sunday's game so close because it only turned the ball over nine times compared to the Jayhawks' 13 giveaways.
How To Beat Them: Don't get burned by Chalmers from the perimeter. There's more than one shooter to defend on KU's roster, but he's been the most dangerous in March. Also: Keep Darrell Arthur from waking up and having a breakout game. After scoring in double-digits for 27 of KU's first 35 games, he's only averaged 7.7 points against UNLV, Villanova and Kansas. North Carolina would prefer it stays that way.
East Regional Champ: North Carolina
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Tournament Identity: The Tar Heels' offense is in peak form. As we've mentioned already in this space, their efficiency in the first two rounds of the tournament (against Mount Saint Mary's and Arkansas) was other-worldly, and on Saturday in Charlotte, they scored 1.22 points per possession on a Louisville team that had yielded only 0.78 PPP to Tennessee in the previous round. Beating a strong Cardinals team 83-73 was more impressive than any of the routs in Houston, Detroit or Phoenix. Tyler Hansbrough has continued to be a horse, scoring 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting against the 'Ville. His clutch skills -- and a somewhat newfound ability to hit longer jumpers -- make Carolina look a viable title pick. "The shots he made ... were unbelievable because they were under duress, and he had very little time to get it off, and he came up big," Cards coach Rick Pitino said of Hansbrough on Saturday.
How To Let Them Beat You: Let Hansbrough get great post position. Though he's been knocking down 15-footers of late, he still does most of his damage around the basket, and much of the work on him needs to be done before the catch. In our Scouting Report from last Wednesday, our anonymous assistant called the process of beating Psycho T to spots "owning the real estate." Kansas' Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun will need to play as physical as possible to keep Hansbrough from another high-20s game.
How To Beat Them: Have athletic enough players to get back on transition defense and limit easy layups. Not only is Tywon Lawson the fastest point guard in the country not named Derrick Rose, but Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green all run the floor as well as any players in the country. Protecting the lane against their primary and secondary break is of utmost importance -- as is controlling the glass after the initial attempt, since Hanbrough, Green and Deon Thompson are all phenomenal offensive rebounders.
The Matchups Memphis vs. UCLA: The Bruins seem to have their least-efficient offensive games against teams with bruising big men, like Washington (with Jon Brockman), Stanford (Brook and Robin Lopez) and Texas A&M (Joseph Jones and Bryan Davis). That makes Dorsey -- as well as Calipari's abilities as Prop Joey's coach/psychologist -- all the more important for the Tigers in San Antonio. Collison and Westbrook are likely to be surprised by the size and strength of Memphis' perimeter defenders, especially Anderson, and might find it tougher to score than they did against Xavier.
The Pick: Memphis 73, UCLA 71. Let the record note that somebody picked the Tigers.
UNC vs. Kansas: The coaching storyline may take center stage, but this is an incredible game on the basis of the on-floor personnel alone. As Self said, "it's North Carolina's players against Kansas' players. It's been five years since Roy went to Carolina." In the players' battle, Carolina will be the first team the Jayhawks have faced in this tournament that can go toe-to-toe with them in transition, and vice-versa. The matchup of Marcus Ginyard on Rush will be huge, as UNC is likely to have trouble containing Chalmers with either Lawson or Ellington. Kaun will have to deliver another MVP-type performance as a muscle guy against Hansbrough. Does Sasha have it in him? The Pick: UNC 82, Kansas 81. Both offenses are prolific. Carolina's, of late, has been better.
I highly doubt that either of the games will be one point games. I also find it interesting that every game that UNC has played except Mt. St. Mary's was supposedly going to be the "first game" that they were really "pushed". We'll see.
Too bad UCLA shouldn't even be here right now. They should have been out of the tournament over a week ago. If the media and NCAA didn't want their glamour school to bow out early Texas A&M would be on their way to San Antonio.
ACC love fest??? You must be joking. SI pundits have been hating on the Heels - Most of them picked Tennessee or Louisville to make it to the Final Four from the East - not UNC. And they weren't among the magic 8 chosen by SI to be the one to win it. Sorry you're still ticked off about ole Roy ditchin' Kansas - get over it.
Is Memphis still boasting a %10 graduation rate? Sorry, this is a basketball discussion... No one has ever disrespected Memphis, TN's athleticism or the fact that they are well coached and play very hard. They have struggled with free throw shooting, death in close games where every point counts and they play in a cruddy conference that is no where close to the balance of the Pac-10, ACC or Big 12. That's OK, as for years UCLA won championships as the only school worth anything from the Pac-10, but for these reasons you can't whine about disrespect because they are facts that people have properly brought up in what could be problems for Memphis. That being said doesn't mean they won't win the whole thing and every player won't be a star in the NBA in the years ahead. It's just that with the %10 graduation rate, they'd better...
Bad day for Kansas on Curry? Davidson lost that game...it wasn't that Kansas won it. There is a difference. Curry giving the ball up in the last few seconds...he is the one who should have made the shot....not pass the ball to someone else.
Anyhow - UNC should play pretty well against Kansas and should be able to beat them by 5+ points. As long as Lawson's leg is fine...they'll have good transition break-aways and good defense that should create some steals.
I am saddened to see the word "hate" used by Memphis' Dorsey. Lack of respect because of the schedule played over the course of a season is not "hate", but our society loves to use over the top expressions and the use then "makes them true", even when they are not. Memphis is a team capable of winning it all, as are each of the final four.
Yo UNC fans. Hansboro will go down as a good college player. He will be a ZERO as a pro. Every time he faces good talent in the post he vanishes. Hey, not even good. Check out the first half vs WSU. Barnes banged him good and he had a horrible first half. Then, with Barnes fouled out the game he picked up garbage points. For another game, check out the Gonzage game with a very healthy Heyfelt. Hansboro could only manage around 9 points as the more athletic Heyfelt punished him. Trust me, much better talent in the NBA.
I'm not from Memphis or a Memphis fan, but I'd rank this team up there with athletic basketball superiority of UNLV of the Late80s/early90s and Houston's Phi Slamma Jamma. They are show to watch and enjoy. And I have been!!
Hey, where are the Big Least Boosters? They get 8 teams into the dance and 0 make the show? Not just 0. They don't get close. Louisville gets blown out. That was the best they have to offer? Davidson played UNC much better.
The ACC wasn't much better.
It's high time these bloated conferences that don't play every team twice should get slapped with penalties.
Finally, the selection group should get slapped. They had many "mid-majors" knocking each other off in the early rounds so we'll never know what could've been. Gonzags/Davidson. Drake/W.Ky, Butler/S. Alabama,
really? you really think Kansas is that good because they can contain Curry? really? Too bad UNC already beat Davidson this season, and held Curry to 2-12 from behind the three point line. Do some research next time.
Making Curry shoot 9-25 counts as containing him. Sure, anybody will score enough points if they put up the shot attempts.
Plus, do you think Curry wasn't trying his best to take the last shot? Did you see Kansas's defense on that last play? Rush got beat, Collins took over, and then Rush got back up to harass him. When Rush jumped to deny Curry's shot, Robinson came right next to him to make sure Curry would have no dribble left.
kansas didnt contain curry whatsoever. he dropped 35 on them. carolina's transition offense and tyler hansbrough is way to tough to slow down. kansas' only chance is to try and keep up with the heels and thats basically impossible. but if any team can do it its kansas
KU played it's worst game since the end of the regular season. 44% from the field and 57% from the line will not occur vs UNC. They were extremely tight to begin the game and missed some great opportunities to put Davidson away early. UNC does not have an answer for Walker and Chalmers plus KU has better depth. Hansbrough will have to settle for outside shots has he will not be able to penetrate the KU interior. Ellington and Lawson will have problems with the KU guard pressure. KU 73 UNC 67
Having Derrick Rose has taken Memphis to another level, but Coach Cal's ability to get Joey Dorsey to be his big man has to be the best coaching of the year. 3 yrs ago, Joey could not stay on the court, now his is a projected 1st round NBA draft pick. Nice going Cal!
So Ku didnt win, Davidson lost, and Curry should have taken the last shot, what game were you watching. Are defense was all over him, 3 guys rotated over and stopped him, he never had a chance to get a shot off. Curry being the GREAT player he is saw it and new his teammate had a better look than he did, and gave it up. KU won and Curry is a stud who played it right. KU you advances and as a KU fan all hats off to Davidson, a very good team! Tough game to watch, but almost any team on the way to a Championship is going to have one of these games. This year we will truely without a doubt crown the best team in the Nation with all four 1's in it!!!
UNC is number 1, the overall number 1 seed, for a reason. They sat atop the nations polls for, what, like 13 weeks, for a reason. And they've steamrolled their way through the first two weekends for a reason.
KU will put up a good fight, but it won't matter. Even if you assume that Wayne Ellington and Danny Green go to sleep for 20 minutes, Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough will take over the game and win.
Psycho T is a good player amongst average players - he disappears against equal competition and better. That said, Kansas better step it up - UCLA better play "physical" and Memphis will back down and it could be Kansas vs. UCLA with Kansas out toughing UCLA for the championship.
See, the reason that KU is going to lose is because they have too balanced of a team. They have great playmakers, but no go-to/clutch guy. That's what they need at the end of the game. UNC has a balanced team as well, but they happen to also have a go-to guy in Hansborough. Plus, UNC is also more efficient than KU, and can run with them. If they play like they did against Davidson (which they did have a bad game) than all hope is lost for them reaching the championship.
I can't help, but find it interesting that people trash the Tigers conference yet due to ignorance or just to make a point, they neglect to mention that we have the toughest out of conference schedule. We have beat down on big names. And our only lost was to the number 2 team at that time. Everyone else lost to unranked teams. Take a lesson from Texas who has beaten 2 of the final four. They said they have “never seen” defense like ours. Look at how we shut down Michigan State. By the time they knew what hit them they where down by thirty. They may have been reading to many blogs or watching too much ESPN. They started believing the lack of hype and overrated nonsense. And we all saw how they got embarrassed. Keep under estimating us, but it is not the best strategy to win.
Oh give it a rest about Memphis' grammar. "Hate" is part of the hipster vernacular, and it doesn't mean "HATE" as in severe dislike. That being said, this isn't etiquette class! Quit focusing on using words like "ain't," since (unfortunately) that is also a big part of the southern vernacular. If you had just played your butt off to move on to the Dance, you probably wouldn't be thinking of "the rain in Spain falling mainly on the plain" either. GO TIGERS GO!
RCR, you need to read Dorsey's "hate" statement in its proper context. He was referring to the "haters" who were saying Memphis would be the first 1-seed to lose. He was not impplying the team was actually hated.
And although Conference USA is weak right now, no one can argue with the Tigers' non-conference schedule. It was arguably the toughest in the country. Also look at the host of coaches who are now in the conference. It shouldn't long before C-USA is respected.
Once again, UCLA is left for dead. And once again, the Bruins will prevail. UCLA's defense will rise to the fore, and the final game will include UCLA and UNC. The best two man matchup in the tournament? Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love. Final winner--UCLA
No one gives UCLA respect..they always play close games and always win, watch out for them, memphis might be very good, but UCLA has the talent to beat anyone. Hansborough for UNC,will only be a college player, he will never make NBA talent, a sideline player maybe 10 minutes a game. UCLA will win it all, and shock you all.
this game is about the players as coach SELF put it but in a chess match the pegs are the players and you are the coach this game will be about the best coaching stratgy and putting the best players or getting the team the best chance to win
Carolina already beat Curry and Crew earlier this year and we have improved since then..Davidson is no push over..UNC vs KU should be a great game but i'll be pulling for my heels...I also love how people attack grammar on an anonymous blog, it really shows lack of creativity
ROCK CHALK BABY!! Finally we get the choke monkey off our back! No doubt if KU plays well, they will beat the Heels. Also, no doubt, if KU plays like they did this weekend, UNC will make it a laugher. Hate to admit but I don't think anyone can stop Memphis, heck they don't need to hit FT's.
UCLA = "glamor school"? A&M dude, you'd better recognize the defense this team displays, not much glamor in that, but lots of A$$ kicking there. This is why A&M is at home. This team beat Stanford three out of three times this season, who btw had a fierce frontcourt in the Lopez twins. Also, more depth that you know, and many weapons...Love gets the hype, he's solid, but this is the best backcourt in the country, hands down. I think that this will be the last team standing.
I'm not real sure how holding the most explosive player in the tournament to a 9 for 25 shooting performance is being scorched. In my opinion, curry was contained. If you don't understand that then maybe you should learn more about basketball. Holding the best player in the tournament to 36% shooting is no different than holding the best team in the tournament to 36%. So if you think that doing that is being "scorched" then you are not very intelligent.
Both of the upcoming games will be thrillers. Memphis, the underated takes on UCLA, the overated - a sportswriters dream. The outcome of the KU vs UNC matchup depends on who comes to play the hardest. Two great coaches, two great teams - probably the best two in the tourney IMHO.
Just for the record, Memphis has graduate 17 of their last 20 seniors in basketball the other three are in the NBA.......right up their with the NC's and Dukes of the world. I admit that our kids need some help on interview protocol but the truth is that they really are just content with being themeselves. They have not qutie learned that people will judge them for using slang and write them off as being dumb or stupid- which they are not either.
Pretty dumb to be so arrogant, on the part of UNC fans. Need u be reminded that UNCs oh so high and mighty squad only beat Davidson by 4 back in, what, November or December? Four points. UNC and KU both had trouble with Curry but ultimately contained him. Now, if a 4 point W as opposed to a 2 point W somehow, in some bizarre way, qualifies as UNC absolutely destroying KU, then my alma mater, Maryland, beating Davidson by 12 last year means we own all 3 schools. We beat u Heels at the Dean Dome. The point here? Dont be moronic, Heels fans. KU has the horses to beat u, and in my bracket, they do.
Congrats to Memphis they are a fine team, but I have to say they have not face a top defensive team like UCLA. K. Love will get Dorsey in foul trouble and we will contain young Derrick Rose, I admit he is a beast but I just think the Bruins will get the job done!!
Excellent athletes are born every day. Teams of great athletes are assembled every year. Teams of great athletes are watching from home next weekend.
Better coaching and Davidson puts up a good shot in the last 5 seconds and has a chance to break up the Four 1's. It's plain to see that the plan for Curry to dribble himself open, while 3 players stand still and one player tries to screen a double team was a weak plan for a game winning play. Honestly, a Curry decoy for Barr rolling off a screen would have been better, despite Barr's clearly lesser shooting ability. Nevertheless, this is a good example of talent alone being insufficient for putting the winning points on the board. Poor coaching in the final seconds ends Davidson's season and, importantly, saves Kansas'season.
True, it was the athletes during ugly hiccups in earlier rounds that kept Memphis, Kansas and UCLA from awaiting Davidson on the sofa for the Final 4, but those athletes won games that should not have been close, with a major athletic differential in their favor. Coaching, in those games, the coaching that allowed the games to be that close, I'd say was suspect. Frankly, I'd be very worried about that inconsistency if I were for any of those teams. For the record, I'd also be very worried if I were Kansas and I allowed that team of, let's be honest, second tier athletes to nearly beat my team in the Elite 8. And, if I were UCLA and I'm hoping for Love to be allowed 27 personal fouls as he was against A&M. UCLA would have lost that game decidedly if referees from ANY OF THE 59 OTHER GAMES played so far in this tournament were on that court. Love wasn't the only lucky one for that and if you disagree, have a look at the still photo of A&M's last shot to tie. Fortunately for fans of the sport, this kind of scripted officiating has not been commonplace.
At the end of the day, there is no shortage of star athletes on the teams still standing. In fact, when you look at the four rosters, the talent is remarkable, even for a Final 4. With this evenness of talent, balance and depth, look to coaching as the difference in San Antonio. Gameplans, Focus and Adjustments by coaching will float one of the four teams of great athletes to the top.
Debate if you please but, despite each having excellent coaches, there is not one team out there that wouldn't trade in their Calipari, Self or Howland for Roy Williams in a Final 4 that will be decided by the outcome of a handful of plays. Roy is far and away the superior coach in this tournament, having convincingly won 4 games of 3 different styles by keeping his team completely focused, and by making the right adjustments. If his leadership did not prepare his high powered, running offense-based squad for winning by completely contrary styles of play, a defensive battle with Washington State, or a half-court game against a powerful Louisville would have sent them home from Charlotte.
No other team has combined this type of skill and depth with intelligence and adaptibility.
On the last second shot, curry had no choice but to pass it to the open man. Everyone in the stadium knew he was gunna try to shoot it, kansas played great defense on him in the final seconds and he was forced to give it up. Don't take credit away from kansas' win.
Memphis is the new UNLV. Huge, fast well coached athletes from a school with zero admissions standards. Dorsey is the new Larry Johnson. UCLA is the new Duke and Love is the new Laettner (but a helluva lot easier to like). Deal with it.
I agree with Luke Winn that Memphis has to be considered the favorite going into the weekend. UCLA is going to have their hands full. I can't see Rose giving Collison an inch and Dozier and Dorsey should be able to hold Love to a less than stellar night. That leaves Westbrook, Mbah a Moute, and Shipp to outplay Douglas-Roberts, Anderson, and Taggart. Something is going to have to go very wrong for UCLA to win (in my opinion). Texas beat UCLA, Memphis waxed Texas. RESPECT Memphis, they deserve to be favored.
Yeah right, "Psycho T is comin! Oh nooo!!" People will be on Mars before Psycho T is involved in a 90 point game against a real opponent. Now Kansas could easily be involved in a 90 point game, KU 90-UNC 43 haha. Probably gonna go down like this: UNC chokes, Roy cries, Jayhawks get to the Championship by demolishing UNC and then slowly but surely beating Memphis who falls apart on fouls and free throws. UCLA is an afterthought again as Lorenzo Mata misses 6 free throws and K-Love gets 2 T's for pulling an Adam Morrison!
um yeah, curry scored 25 points, but most of them came in transition, when he was unguarded, when russell robinson and brandon rush were on him he got shut down. his percentage was much lower than the rest of the tourney. and ill just say that its gonna be a great game, im not gonna make any ridiculous predictions about it, except for this; i cant wait to see roy williams cry, haha
TX A&M to the FINAL FOUR?!? Get real. I'm not even sure they're the 3rd best team in the Big 12 and you think they're one of the top 4 in the entire nation? It's a fine line between being a homer and being just plain silly (and I think you just crossed it!)
Memphis has graduated 15 of its last 17 seniors (those 2 went to the NBA).
Yes, C-USA is not a basketball powerhouse, but Memphis' out of conference games (Georgetown, Arizona, UConn, Oklahoma, USC) put their SOS on par with just about anybody in this tournament. In fact, only UNC has beaten more tournament teams than Memphis (UNC 9-1, Memphis 8-1).
AND they made 77 and 82% of free throws in the Houston regional.
People need to think, or at least know what they're talking about, before they post and not just recycle the same tired old lines that have been launched against non-BCS schools for years.
If they were so bad, 3 Elite 8's in a row and a Final Four this year. Only UCLA has done that.
Here it is.. All four teams can win it all. I give Memphis some credit. they are a good team. My only draw back on them is the fact that they played a butter cookie schedule all year long so they should be where they are right now. I honestly didn't expect them to get here but they proved me wrong with good ball play and strong defense. I'm a Carolina man and i believe we will beat Kansas but it should be a good game. Kansas has a good team and can run with Carolina. But weather they'll be able to is still the question for the moment. Carolina in my opinion played strong teams all year long and have had to play with key injuries. They are some what healthy now and will be hard to defend. UCLA will have thee hands full with Memphis. That to will be a good game. I think it will be Carolina VS Memphis in the championship.
Sorry, delusional UNC fans, but the best of the mediocre ACC doesn't equal the best in the country. The only thing the Tar Heels will be owning after the Kansas game is the title of most overrated team in the last 10 years. Believe me, I've never liked Kansas. I thoroughly enjoyed their 3 losses, and hoped that they'd make it 4 against UT in the Big 12 final, but even I have to admit that a team with 6 players who've scored 20 points and 5-7 future NBA players is loaded enough to derail any school's title hopes. A finesse team like UNC won't survive against the real athletes at KU, or even Memphis.
Why the focus on Memphis w/ graduation rates. The latest statistics show Memphis and UCLA both with 40% graduation rates for basketball. Kansas is not much better at 45%. Only North Carolina at 86% has anything to brag about.
-- Too bad UCLA shouldn't even be here right now. They should have been out of the tournament over a week ago. If the media and NCAA didn't want their glamour school to bow out early Texas A&M would be on their way to San Antonio. --
Even if they had called a foul, TAMU would have to win it in overtime. Why do TAMU fans assume a victory if a foul was called? Hey TAMU fans, that was a two point shot not a three point shot. The point guard is a 67% free throw shooter and TAMU was lousy at the line. If TAMU shot better free throws they would've advanced.
Kansas definitely did NOT contain Curry. 25 points is not containment.
Memphis is definitely a contender to win it all, but while UCLA may not be able to contain Rose, I wonder whether Memphis (or anyone, for that matter) can contain Kevin Love. That guy is someone whom NO ONE has been able to stop, or even come close to stopping.
Personally, I think the UCLA-Memphis game will be the better of the two. I think UNC will beat Kansas. While it will be a good game, I think UCLA-Memphis will be better. I think they match up slightly more evenly.
Let me put it this way... Louisville beat Tennessee by 19. I know that the Vols weren't as good as many thought, but they were still a very good team that many had argued for a #1 seed. Carolina then beat Louisville pretty bad considering the run they were able to make. Tyler Hansbrough can make absolutely any shot on the inside...whether a simple layup or a clutch 19 footer. It should be a good game, but UNC is a great team with Psycho T. Let's not forget Lawson, Ellington, and Green.
ACC love fest? Get outta here. The ACC was weak this year, everyone can admit that (despite the top RPI), but the Heels are the best team in the country. Their season was plagued with injuries so they seemed questionable at times, but that is in the past and they are peaking at the right time. The Tarheels being almost 100% healthy (minus Frasor) can't be stopped. Although Memphis is looking pretty tough lately. Expect to see the boys in blue cutting down the nets.
(anonymous, below)....The Heels, on their opening day, contained Curry...actually a bit better than did your Jayhawks. He shot 2-12 from behind the arc for 24 points. Kansas had all season to prepare for the likes of Curry but UNC did it from day one (he went 4-14 from behind the arc this weekend). Don't make excuses for Kansas and blame it on an ACC love fest. Your logic is terrible and so is your argument.
Maybe earlier poster should check UM's graduation rate... it is much better than before.
Thanks for picking the Tigers. Although we were in the top-5 in the polls all year (so someone liked us), we were picked "most likely upset" or to definitely lose in every tourney round by most of the experts. And as to us being in a weak conference, CUSA is weaker than the BCS conferences. That's why we played a tough non-conf schedule (and before you gripe that our tough games were all at home, they were all away last year... it is called a "home & away" package). But it didn't seem to matter, as we beat the SEC's Miss St then stomped Mich St and Texas (in Texas). If we play as well as we did in sweet 16, I expect us to win whole thing. Go Tigers Go!
I don't think UNC is going to dominate the game. KU-UNC are completely evenly matched. Both have depth, athleticism, and are efficient on offense. KU has a better defense, UNC has a better transition game. So, KU barely hung on against Davidson? SO WHAT. Sometimes you need luck to advance and let's be honest, Davidson was playing at a very high level( need I even mention Curry?) and KU played tight and stale and KU STILL WON. Isn't that what matters?
I think UNC will probably win this game, but it's going to be good and it's going to be close.
I'm surprised to see a team from cupcake conference USA (mid major) in the final four. Never thought I would see it. It'll be intersting to see how they do against the cream of the crop. Look for UCLA to win by 30. Then the Memphis players can be back home in time to study for final exams. (insert laughter here)
Awww...don't like Memphis spoiling the BCS Big Dance, eh? Well, deal with it, dude. Considering how easily they tossed a fine Texas team aside, in Houston no less, should give you some indication of how well they will fare in against UCLA. Meanwhile, why don't you actually go watch some tape of Memphis before dismissing them as a cupcake.
on the court, you couldn't beat UT at home. Memphis mopped the floor with UT in Houston. I think that 30point spread is based on hubris. You're in for quite a disappointment. Not a real great tourney showing--you got pushed around by the Big 12's sixth best team before the officials swallowed their whistles.
Here's the deal, if you base your prediction on the last game alone, of course Memphis would be favored. But slow down. Memphis looks awfully physical, but UCLA's inside game gets underestimated. Not just Love, but Aboya, Moute, & Mata can hammer inside defensively. UCLA's problem will be if it's guards get in foul trouble against Memphis on the dribble-drive cause Roberts & Rose are gonna take it to the hoop.
But don't get cocky Memphys oh Moute was hobbling the first three games - if he's fully heeled by Saturday, he will be all over the place defensively and on the boards.
If Collision & Westbrook don't get in foul trouble, Memphis is gonna have to battle, and the question is, will they crack?
Memphis resembles UNLV, but I have a feeling that, unfortunately for such a huge game, the referee's will be the one's that choke and are going to decide the outcome when someone like Love or Dorsey or Collision or Rose get's nailed for some ticky-tack calls - it always seems to happen. Let 'em play.
UNC barely beat Davidson AT HOME. They've looked as good as they have because all of their games in the tournament have basically been home games. Time to step outside of NC and get Hansbrough buried with four big guys. I was real disappointed in Padgett and the Louisville big guys last weekend. They seemed to leave Hansbrough alone. Won't happen this Saturday. Chalmers, Rush, Robinson, and Collins will come out smokin and roll UNC by 7.
I really cant believe some of the stuff im reading. Hansbrough is too weak, he will struggle against more athletic competition, the acc is weak? You guys are aware that Hansbrough is absolutely jacked and benches over 330 lbs? He also is quite athletic himself and has no worries there. And the ACC was the top conference in the RPI. Know your facts before you say something. Half the people might be the most ignorant fans in the world.
I am a college sports fan. A lot of the posts here are from fanatics. UCLA by 30 over Memphis? Wow, please leave your contact info. and I'll put my morgage on the line if you give me the Tigers and 30 points! (btw, Tigers grauation rate is at 89% during Cal's tenure and for the post suggesting KU, Memphis, and UCLA would trade for Roy ... you're smokin') If you've made a post here dismissing or disrespecting any of the remaining teams you're not very bright. Look, the truth is anyone who thinks their team is a lock to play in the championship game is not using reason to reach that conclusion. Four #1 seeds is awesome and they ALL have a legit shot.
Kansas had all season to prepare for the likes of Curry but UNC did it from day one (he went 4-14 from behind the arc this weekend).
Really? You want to talk about logic? Kansas had all season, huh? They've been preparing all season for Davidson, because they knew on March 30th, they were playing Davidson? And apparently UNC didn't get to practice whatsoever before their first game? I think you have your teams mixed up there...
I agree with the last poster who said that there are some serious fanatics on this message board....some of you guys are crazy....I also am a huge college hoops fan. I have watched all of these teams all year long.
With that said, Memphis has some great athletes....did you see that double pump dunk that Rose threw down against Texas. I was very impressed with how their defense was able to create turnovers against Texas, who did beat UCLA this year. UCLA has some horses on the inside, and not just Love....which I think will neutralize the Dorsey. Collison will guard Rose much better than Augustine did, so it will come down to Douglas-Roberts having a huge game, hitting a lot of those mid-range jump shots....because I think that UCLA will cut down Memphis' transition game because they won't turn the ball over, very much. All that being said, I think that Memphis' athletes will get UCLA in the end....and they will hit some free throws and end up winning by 7.
Both KU and UNC beat Davidson by close margins, but a game that happened at Thanksgiving compared to a game last Sunday with college kids....not a good comparison (same with Texas beating UCLA in December)...."shutting down Curry" No, KU did not shut down Curry, the best scorer in the tournament this year....he still almost beat them....but he did miss a number of shots down the stretch which if he had made them would have changed the outcome of the game.....Carolina played Davidson in November.....all of these teams have been through so much and have improved immensely since November....these are college kids, still getting better every day at this sport.
Ok, let's analyze UNC versus KU....yes, the Heels have the All-American....no, he's not as athletic as Arthur and Jackson of KU, but the key issue in my mind is who will get in foul trouble....if Hannsbrough gets in foul trouble, UNC has not much else to throw at KU underneath....if he had been in foul trouble against Louisville, that game might have turned out differently....who comes off of Carolina's bench and can neutralize, Kaun, Jackson, Arthur and they have a freshman named Cole Aldrich who they can still throw at Hannsbrough if everyone else is in foul trouble. KU has three great guards. Lawson is awesome, question, will his ankle be healed enough to not hurt him? The swing men I think are pretty close, but I give the edge to Brandon Rush who is a little more seasoned than Carolina's boys....overall, a close game, the talent is very high on both teams, but the reason that I think Carolina will win is the "it" factor....I think that Hannsbrough will want it a little bit more than the collective KU players will want it. That has been KU's achilles heal all year....the deep, deep desire to win just doesn't always seem to be there. Carolina by three or four points.
And to sum all of this up....you won't find a bigger KU fan in the world than me. I lived in Kansas for fourteen years growing up. I don't blame Roy for leaving....I hate that he did. I do hate Carolina for stealing him from us. Dean Smith messed over his alma mater by not leaving Roy alone...yes, Dean Smith went to Kansas....does it matter where the coaches come from...there is a deep connection between these schools....they played in the final four in 1991 with KU winning and losing to Duke in the Final game afer Duke beat UNLV. KU played UNC in 1993 in the semi-finals and the Heels won the whole thing with the Chris Weber time out game.
I actually think that this Final Four will be like that one in 1993 which featured three Number 1's and KU as a Number 2 seed. Those games were all out wars, the best game was the one between Kentucky and Michigan that year with Jamal Mashburn going up against the Fab Five with Michigan prevailing late.
I don't have any idea who will win between Carolina and Memphs....
My advice is to just enjoy this weekend for what it will be the best weekend of college basketball we've seen in many years.
One poster said Hansborough doesn't get all the fouls on him he commits. I have taped most of our games this year and I can tell you a lot more DON'T get called where he hits the floor, gets bloodied, etc. You need to get your facts straight or watch the games again. I picked UNC vs KU in my pool and UCLA vs UT so I got 3 out of 4. I am glad to see all four #1's make it. Reminds me of 1993 when we won it in Nawlins. Heels over Rock Chalk, UCLA over the Tigers. UNC over UCLA Monday night. From the ATL! GO HEELS!
anyone who says hansbrough isn't athletic is kidding themselves. He benches over 300 and is the fastest center in college basketball and can run down the court very quickly. He gets fouled a lot when refs don't call it coz they get tired of calling fouls against him all the time. He doesn't commit stupid fouls with the exception of the Louisville game when he got lucky the refs didn't call one or two of them. Kansas can't keep up with UNC in transition, and lawson's ankle is nearly fully healed and he's making 3's that he hasn't in the past. The key factor in the game will be if Wayne Ellington and Danny Green can hit their 3's they've been very streaky lately. Hansbrough simply can't be shut down the closest another team got was duke, but they still gave up 16 points and 15 boards to him. If Kansas can make their 3 pointers it will be close and they can come up with a win, if they don't they won't win. Kansas is a good team but carolina's penetration and kick out to their perimeter guys and offensive rebounding will be too much.