Apr 1, 2014, 10:25 PM EST
- Why they can win: The Wildcats are the most talented team in the country. That’s really all you need to know. There’s a reason that they were the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason, and we’re finding that out in this tournament. What makes them so tough is that they are impossible to prepare over because of the size and athleticism that they have along their front line. You simply cannot replicate Julius Randle in practice. You can’t copy the size of Dakari Johnson, and if he’s healthy, Willie Cauley-Stein. And it’s that size and athleticism that allows them to attack the offensive glass with reckless abandon.
- But why they won’t win: If Kentucky plays the way that they have over the course of the last three games, they’re going to beat Wisconsin and give Florida (or UConn) all they can handle in the title game. Even the most cynical Louisville fan in the world will admit that. But the biggest difference between the Kentucky that’s shown up the last three games and the Kentucky that showed up for the three months before that is the shooting of the Harrisons and James Young. On the season, those three combined to make around 35% of their threes. In the tournament, they’re shooting 44.9% from beyond the arc and have hit the game-winning jumper from beyond the arc in all three games. An off night could stop their season in its tracks.
- Why they can win: Shabazz Napier. It’s that simple. Napier is going to be the best player on the floor every single time he steps on the court in Dallas, and the team with the best player on the floor is going to win a lot of games. Napier can take over a game on the offensive end of the floor. He controls everything UConn does. Watch him on Saturday. He moves players around in their sets. He calls for ball-screens to come out. He waves off plays and call new ones. It’s impressive, and it’s also before you consider just how incredible he is at making big shots. Being ‘clutch’ simply means you have the confidence to take big chances and make big plays in crunch time, and no one is better at capitalizing on the moment than Napier.
- But why they won’t win: That’s not to say that UConn can win if he’s a one-man show, because they can’t. Kemba Walker led UConn to the 2011 National Title, but he wouldn’t have been able to do that if Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi and … Shabazz Napier hadn’t stepped up and played well in March. DeAndre Daniels, Ryan Boatright and Amida Brimah need to have their March moments as well.
- Why they can win: The Florida defense is just so tough. We’ve been over this time and time again. They have a ton of size and versatility and they can give so many different looks. Multiple zone looks, multiple different man-to-man defenses, full court presses, half court traps. It’s a nightmare to prepare for, and it makes them blowout-proof. They’re going to be in the game down the stretch, and that’s when Scottie Wilbekin takes over.
- But why they won’t win: Here’s why Florida is going to be so tough to beat: because finding a flaw on this team that will be exploitable by one of the other three teams in this Final Four is a difficult thing to do. Their biggest issue is probably a lack of consistent three-point shooters. Michael Frazier is lights-out and Wilbekin can stroke it, but beyond that, the rest of the roster are non-shooters with the exception of Dorian Finney-Smith, who is as streaky as they come.
- Why they can win: The Badgers have the single biggest matchup problem in the Final Four in Frank Kaminsky. How do you guard him? Put a center on him and he’ll step out to the perimeter, where seven-footers are not used to having to chase someone off the three-point line. Put a forward on him and he’ll overpower them in the post. He single-handedly tore apart the best defense in college basketball against Arizona, there’s no reason he can’t do the same to Kentucky.
- But why they won’t win: The biggest issue for Wisconsin is their last of size. They are a fundamentally sound group — they all box out and their guards are willing to crash the defensive glass — but that doesn’t change the fact that Kentucky’s front line can flat out overpower them. Sam Dekker is going to start out guarding Julius Randle. Wisconsin’s little guards are going to match up with Kentucky’s 6-foot-6 guards. Josh Gasser will spend a lot of time guarding Alex Poythress. Kentucky can flat out overwhelm you with their size, which is what Wisconsin is the most susceptible to.
Dec 25, 2014, 10:59 PM EST
Just four games on the schedule Christmas Day, with the Colonials picking up some hardware.
Dec 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The third-ranked Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday. Where do they need to improve in the new year?
Dec 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Iowa State once again looks like a strong competitor in the Big 12 this season.
Dec 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
The ten teams, players and leagues that have left us wanting more.
Dec 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
What do the Zags need to change this season?
Dec 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
What will the Tar Heels need to improve upon in order to compete for the ACC title?
Dec 24, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The preseason pick to win Big East Freshman of the Year is averaging 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the 9-2 Pirates.
Dec 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
What does Duke need to do to remain a title contender this season?
Dec 24, 2014, 3:07 PM EST
He’s made a habit out of cracking jokes at his team’s expense this season.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:26 PM EST
The most surprising players, teams and leagues this season.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:16 AM EST
The Huskies have played a tough schedule thus far, and that will benefit them in conference play.
Dec 24, 2014, 1:05 AM EST
One top-10 team went down on Tuesday night.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:41 AM EST
This is a huge win for a young UNLV team.
Dec 23, 2014, 11:33 PM EST
Wichita State plays George Washington on Christmas night in the Diamond Head Classic championship game.
Dec 23, 2014, 9:38 PM EST
This win might make people start to forget about Stanford’s loss to DePaul.
Dec 23, 2014, 8:56 PM EST
Dwayne Polee II collapsed during Monday night’s game against UC Riverside.
Dec 23, 2014, 8:20 PM EST
Charles Barkley gives a strong reason for why he would openly break an NCAA rule.
Dec 23, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
The Diamond Head Classic had several impressive dunks on Monday.
Dec 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
The 6-foot-10 center has not played since Jan. 7.
Dec 23, 2014, 4:34 PM EST
The Cal sophomore guard has been out the past six games.
- Late Night Snacks: George Washington wins the Diamond Head Classic 0
- New Year’s Resolutions: Arizona Wildcats 0
- The ten biggest disappointments of the 2014-2015 college basketball season 2
- New Year’s Resolutions: Gonzaga Bulldogs 0
- New Year’s Resolutions: Duke Blue Devils 1
- The ten biggest surprises in college basketball in 2014-2015 1
- New Year’s Resolutions: UConn Huskies 0
- No. 1 Kentucky dismantles UCLA (6)
- Kentucky still has one more major test to pass this season and it might not come against Louisville (5)
- Weekend Preview: A loaded Saturday slate highlights the weekend (3)
- One suitor for Duke transfer hopes to land him despite not having an available scholarship (3)
- No. 24 North Carolina handles No. 12 Ohio State (3)