Blog Entry

West Regional preview

Posted on: March 20, 2011 10:51 pm
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Posted by Eric Angevine

The Anaheim Regional is the chalk champion this year. The 1, 2 and 3 seeds made it through, and No. 5 Arizona over No. 4 Texas wasn't much of an upset by seed. So, what we have here is nothing but the game's best active coach (Coach K at Duke), A Player of the Year candidate (Kemba Walker at UConn), A likely top-5 NBA draft pick (Derrick Williams at Arizona), and a first-time program with arguably the nation's most potent frontcourt (San Diego State). Meh. Chalk. How boring.

Three storylines dominating Anaheim

1. Coach K goes for 902 wins and yet another Final Four trip. 
2. Derrick Williams is coming home to L.A. 
3. Kemba Walker attempts to keep his postseason win streak intact.

How They Get to Houston

No. 1 Duke: The key word for the Blue Devils is 'maintain'. The backcourt rotation has become truly formidable with the return of Kyrie Irving. When he plays alongside Nolan Smith and Seth Curry, Duke has so many ways to destroy a team. Kyle Singler will continue to overwork opposing defenses with his ability to drive inside or step back and drill a jumper. Duke's inside players simply need to play their roles as they have all season. Two wins, and Duke fans get to celebrate a Final Four and Coach K becoming tied with Bob Knight as the winningest coach in D-I.

No. 2 San Diego State: Get the ball inside. The Aztecs entered the season with one of the nation's top frontcourts, and nothing has changed on that score. Kawhi Leonard, Billy White and Malcolm Thomas are good for roughly 48 percent of the team's points scored this season. Chase Tapley is the jump shooter any big lineup needs to keep defenders honest, and D.J. Gay is the distributor who feeds the machine. If those five players do their jobs, and Steve Fisher doesn't have to go to the bench too terribly often, the Aztecs can get to the Lone Star state.

No. 3 Connecticut: Kemba. Kemba, Kemba Kemba Kemba. Kemba? Kemba. OK, seriously. Kemba Walker continuing to play like he's got JRR Tolkien-style Elf blood in his veins is the key to everything UConn has done and hopes to do this season. Alex Oriakhi is the key rebounder, and Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier are the helpful apprentice scorers. There is no longer room for doubt: Kemba Walker can do anything he wants to do on the basketball court.

No. 5 Arizona: The Wildcats are really an unusual team to see at this stage. Sophomore Derrick Williams scores a full 25 percent of his team's points. One quarter! Momo Jones is the only other Arizona player who even comes close to double figures in scoring, and he averages 9.8 per game. The youth movement worked against Texas, and could be a harbinger of things to come. Freshman Jordin Mayes and sophomore Solomon Hill each played well to get the 'Cats to the Sweet 16. The key is to have a one possession game and let Williams take over. It's worked thus far.

Anaheim's five best players

1. Nolan Smith: Duke's leader can stroke a jumper or drive the lane with ease. He averages 20.9 points and 5.3 assists per game.
2. Kemba Walker: Quite simply college basketball's Superman this season. 23.6 ppg and 4.5 apg.
3. Derrick Williams: A sophomore who almost single-handedly put his team in the Sweet 16. 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Shoots 61% from deep.
4. Kawhi Leonard: If you needed a rebound to save your life, and Kenneth Faried wasn't available (well, he isn't), you'd want Leonard to be your guy. 15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg.
5. Kyrie Irving: With so many other choices, it's tough to go here, but Irving is the piece that makes a good Duke team great.


The Duke Blue Devils will cut down the nets, because college basketball is a guard's game, and the Devils are hoarding at least four good to exceptional ones. Kyle Singler is an NBA talent in the frontcourt, and the trio of big men can, together, play the role that Brian Zoubek played for the defending national champs last season. They're not quite as complete as Ohio State, but that's a concern for another day.

Photo: US Presswire

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Comments

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: March 23, 2011 8:02 am
 

West Regional preview

I think Karl Hess and Bryan Kersey are on the Duke payoll are they not? Jamie Luckie and John Cahill are only in the Duke bonus pool...If Coach K advances they get a bonus...Roger Ayers and Joe Lindsay are also Coach K's paid pals if you know what I mean...Tim Higgins and Jim Burr will help Coach K out in a heartbeat as well....Coach K does a better job working the officials than he does with his team....Coach K makes Bobby Knight and Bobby Huggins look like Choir boys....

That is REAL stuff, Bravesman.  This Aztec season has been all about Truth vs. Tradition, and Truth is winning.  Calhoun is already getting sanctioned, and Duke has so many officials in its pockets, it's not funny.  But still, the players have at least some small part to play, in spite of the consensus story lines which the mass media uses to manipulate the uninformed, and get its cut from bookies, gamblers, and corporate network crooks.  /end rant. 



Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:39 pm
 

West Regional preview

I'm looking forward to a Duke/Uconn matchup - always a great  battle
i'd love to see the kemba/shabazz, nolan smith/kyrie matchup
some serious ballers



Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 4:52 pm
 

West Regional preview

Here's my take on the region as a Duke fan. 

The Devils have a substantial size advantage against Arizona, as they did against Michigan.  Unlike UM, however, Zona plays a pretty standard man-to-man, so Duke should have an easier time exploiting mismatches on the offensive end.  The stat that jumped out at me for Zona is field goal percentages from 2 vs 3.  From 3, Zona shoots almost 40% while holding opponents under 30%, an eye-popping spread.  From 2, however, Zona shoots just a hair better than its opponents, both shooting and allowing around 51%.  Duke is not quite as good from 3 (shooting 37.4%, allowing 31.6%) but is substantially better from 2 (shooting 52.5%, allowing 42.9%).  Ironically, given conventional media wisdom that Duke is a 3-point shooting team, the Devils want to play 'Zona as much inside the arc as possible.

San Diego State is the kind of physical team that's given Duke trouble in the recent past.  Despite actually being smaller than Duke at every position, they are a better rebounding team at both ends of the court.  They are also an excellent FG% defense, holding opponents to 31% from 3 and 42.6% from 2, slightly better than Duke in both categories.  Duke's defensive game plan is typically to deny perimeter shots, forcing opponents to drive to the basket and pull up from 10 feet to avoid the charge.  Thing is, I think San Diego State will be fine with this.  From what I saw in their two losses to BYU, SDSU has problems when they are forced to guard in transition, as this limits their offensive rebounding and avoids facing their very good half court defense.  I think Duke will try to push tempo, but keep in mind they haven't done much of that since Kyrie Irving's December injury. 

As much as I like Kemba Walker, Duke matches up pretty well with UConn.  The Huskies are a mediocre shooting team- their strengths are offensive rebounding and their excellent FG% defense inside the arc.  Typical of many good Jim Calhoun teams, they are great at blocking or altering shots, but highly suspect on the defensive glass.  Ironically, since UConn is the taller than both Arizona and SDSU, I think Duke's height will give UConn the most problems as the Huskies will have a tough time blocking or altering Duke's shots.  Nolan Smith is also a highly underrated defender, and I like his chances against Walker.  UConn has a good chance against SDSU:  as they showed in two games against BYU, they can have trouble containing an elite scoring guard.  But they will need big support from Lamb and Napier to stay with Duke.




Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 4:00 pm
 

West Regional preview

I think Karl Hess and Bryan Kersey are on the Duke payoll are they not? Jamie Luckie and John Cahill are only in the Duke bonus pool...If Coach K advances they get a bonus...Roger Ayers and Joe Lindsay are also Coach K's paid pals if you know what I mean...Tim Higgins and Jim Burr will help Coach K out in a heartbeat as well....Coach K does a better job working the officials than he does with his team....Coach K makes Bobby Knight and Bobby Huggins look like Choir boys....
You should take off your homer glasses and actually watch the game. You might even enjoy it. Duke wins because they are a good team, not because of the refs. Not the only good team, not necessarily the best, but they are good enough to be in the converation, and blaming their success on biased refs is just ignorant.



Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:02 pm
 

West Regional preview

SDSU is going down
Kemba is gonna go off on them w/ a smile on his face



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:42 pm
 

West Regional preview

Too bad, UConn will get beat by SDSU.  SDSU will be the final four from this group.



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:08 pm
 

West Regional preview

bro that rule was been taken out for years....the annoucer, Clark is wrong....typical UK fan...please 



Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:55 am
 

West Regional preview

If I am not mistaken, when a team is inbounding the ball, they can call a timeout as long as it is within 3 seconds of being handed the basketball.  In other words, once the ref hits the 4 second count, the player better better find an open man, otherwise, he is not able to call a timeout after the ref has counted off 4 seconds.  In this game, the ref clearly made the 4 count, then Texas tried to call a timeout, by rule that is a violation, thus the 5 second count.  I am pretty sure the announcers explained this, or John Adams explained it to the guys in the studio after the game.



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:38 am
 

West Regional preview

Agreed. Very frustrating to watch as an Arizona fan. Was no surprise as to what Brown was going to do at the end of the game. I must say I was half expecting a foul to be called, but you won't hear any complaints from me.


Bravesman
Since: Apr 6, 2010
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:01 am
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