"Their zone is very challenging, it's got a lot of man characteristics. They pressure the ball handler and do a good job of keeping Gorgui Dieng inside. Obviously you have to be mindful of aggressive three-point shooting from Chris Smith, Russ Smith and Kyle Kuric. Dieng is going to try to make post moves about three times per half, to try to get the other big guy in foul trouble."
The Bluegrass State is horse country, so it's safe to assume that Louisville coach Rick Pitino knows that keeping up with Kentucky is like trying to outrace Secretariat. But as one of the worst outside shooting teams in the Big East this season (31.7% from three), the Cardinals will need to get transition baskets. No matter the pace, Kentucky will cross the finish line first in this intrastate battle.
Post men Thomas Robinson of Kansas and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State will bang each other with such force and friction that it wouldn't be a surprise if they spontaneously combusted. The difference maker, though, will be KU's 7-foot junior center, Jeff Withey. The Big 12's defensive player of the year has 20 blocks in four tournament games, and his weakside help will stymie Sullinger.
THE LAST TIME JOHN CALIPARI FACED BILL SELF IN AN NCAA FINAL, IN 2008, MISSED MEMPHIS FREE THROWS ALLOWED KANSAS TO PREVAIL. THE WILDCATS WILL ENSURE A DIFFERENT OUTCOME FOR CAL, WHO WILL WIN HIS FIRST TITLE IN HIS FOURTH TRIP TO THE FINAL FOUR
EAST OHIO STATE
"IF YOU CAN DEFEND JARED SULLINGER WITHOUT CONSISTENT HELP—THAT'S HUGE."