Some questions answered last night:
- UConn passed a major test last night. Not only did they rack up another quality win against an NCAA Tournament caliber opponent (Syracuse), but they also answered some questions about their biggest weakness. The Huskies were able to beat a team that excels at playing a 2-3 zone defense. The book on the Huskies had been that they aren’t able to knock down outside shots, and you play zone defense to force them outside and make them shoot three pointers. This also allows a defense to play recover and help defense on UConn’s bangers 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien. Anytime, as they did last night, where the UConn guards make enough outside shots to keep a defense honest the Huskies will be tough to beat. In fact, if the season ended today I would call them the number one overall seed.
-The UNC/DUKE game from last night helped reiterate a few of the points from my Mid-Season Report. Ty Lawson is the fastest player in the nation end to end and really makes that team go. No player in the country is of more value to his team then Lawson is to the Tar Heels. Not only is he able to score on the fast break, but when he pushes the ball up the court he gets the other players easy shots. It’s simple yet overlooked: closer shots to the basket make teams more efficient….which is a perfect segway into my point about the Blue Devils. Like I had stated in a previous entry, the Dookies live and die too much by the three point basket. They shot 67% from behind the arc in the first half , scored 52 points, and had an eight point lead….yet in the second half couldn’t buy a three, scored 35 points, and ultimately lost by 14. If they have to rely on shooting almost 70% from behind the arc to beat a good team, than they are in big time trouble.
-Blake Griffin is the best player in the country, but I would really like to see him play against some quality big men. The Big12 is almost void of any decent big men outside of maybe Iowa State’s Craig Brackins or Kansas’s Cole Aldrich. You would have some epic match-ups if you stuck Griffin and Oklahoma in the Big East where he could go against players like Thabeet, Adrien, Georgetown’s Greg Monroe, and Pitt’s DeJuan Blair on a nightly basis. I would also LOVE to see him expose the overrated Mr. Luke Harrangody at Notre Dame.
By the way, I’m calling it right now….the Big 12 will struggle in the NCAA’s. The league is down this year and teams like Kansas, Texas, and Missouri will get over-seeded and loose early.
-Villanova gets the best guard play in the country and no one is talking about them. They handled another guard heavy team the other night then they beat up on Marquette. If Nova gets favorable match-ups and just enough out of Dante Cunningham inside they will make a deep postseason run. I like them A LOT in March. Remember I said that.
-If I had to make the 1-4 seeds right now it would look like this:
1’s: UConn, UNC, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma
2’s: Louisville, Villanova, Duke, UCLA:
3’s: Marquette, Wake Forest, Memphis, Clemson
4’s: Xavier, Florida State, Michigan State, Missouri