Thursday, 31 March 2016

NCAA 2016 Final Four Breakdown

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The 2016 NCAA College Basketball Tournament reaches its dizzy crescendo this weekend in Houston where the final four and best remaining College teams face off to crown the Champion in College Hoops.

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Following a mad opening weekend where more upsets occurred than normal, and then a fairly flat second weekend of Sweet 16 and Elite 8 action owing to the shocks in the first weekend, we are left with four teams. One Number One seed remains in North Carolina, two number twos in Oklahoma and Villanova and one underdog in No. 10 Syracuse.

North Carolina (1) v Syracuse (10)
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Syracuse have profited from having winnable games throughout the tournament and profiting from teams being eliminated. They beat Dayton by 19 in the first round, they then avoided Michigan State by defeating their victors Middle Tennessee by 25. Then they got two tough games in Gonzaga (will they ever reach their potential) by 3 before defeating Virginia by a convincing margin of 6. Virginia could not contend with the 2-3 zone of Cuse, and while they may be able to slow down North Carolina's offensive production, Virginia scored the most points of anyone against Syracuse in the tournament - 62.

North Carolina meanwhile have been the most under-the-radar No.1 seed in recent memory, every game has been won by double digits, the closest being 14 over Notre Dame in the elite eight and 15 over Indiana two days before.  The Tar Heels have two very good players and probably first round NBA players in Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, yet they defend hard also making it difficult for teams to get shots off and disrupt their rhythm.

In that respect, Syracuse will have to score 80 plus points to have a chance of causing an upset. You doubt this will be likely for the Orange to succeed and Roy Williams will be heading for another title game.

Oklahoma (2) v Villanova (2)
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In a much tighter affair, the two number two seeds face off and this game revolves around one player - Buddy Hield. Can Hield maintain his form of avergaing 29.3ppg in the tournament and can the Wildcats stifling defence have an answer to him.  The key will be to stop him getting a shot from the perimeter or the three point line. Hield can score at will seemingly, but Villanova so renowned for their defence have found some shooting shoes in previous rounds before stopping Kansas in the last round.

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Time for Buddy to shine

In a coin flip of a game in this instance, you tend to go with the team that has the better player(s) and in this game you take Buddy. In recent years, the team that won the tournament had that tournment's MVP - from Conneticut's Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier to Kentucky's Anthony Davis.  The time has come for Buddy to shine.

In the final, you will see North Carolina Tar Heels v Oklahoma Sooners; will that be one game too many for Buddy or will UNC yield to Hield?

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