Dee-Lightful Matchups

March 07, 2005
March 07, 2005

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March 7, 2005

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Dee-Lightful Matchups

With his lightning-quick hands, killer first step and sweet shooting stroke, Illinois guard Dee Brown can be a nightmare to play against. There's no telling how the luck of the draw will treat the Illini at NCAA tournament time, but we can imagine some matchups that could be fascinating to watch. Here are five guards who have the skill and the style to challenge the 6-foot Brown--and maybe beat him. And even if they don't draw Brown and Illinois, they'll be fun to follow in March. --Seth Davis

This is an article from the March 7, 2005 issue Original Layout

1. Raymond Felton

JR., North Carolina

Brown isn't used to playing against guards who are as speedy as he is, but Felton may be even faster than Brown. And unlike Brown, Felton has a consistent post option in Sean May. If Brown has to help out on the block, he will leave Felton open from three-point land, where the Tar Heel is converting 46.8% of his attempts.

2. Darren Brooks

SR., Southern Illinois

Brooks is as unflappable as Brown is excitable. He also has plenty of NCAA tournament experience, having led the Salukis there for the last three years, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2002. The reigning Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and defensive player of the year, Brooks led Southern Illinois through Sunday in scoring (14.4 points a game), rebounding (5.1) and steals (2.8).

3. Jarrett Jack

JR., Georgia Tech

Three inches taller than Brown, the 6'3"Jack is a tremendous defender and benefits from some of the best help defense in the country. While shouldering the Yellow Jackets' scoring load this season (15.5 points a game), he has shot a remarkable 51.2% from the floor and 41.7% from three-point range--and committed just 3.6 turnovers per game.

4. Eddie Basden

SR., Charlotte

The 6'5" Basden has the size and savvy to disrupt Brown. Not only could he force Brown into turning the ball over (at week's end Basden was third in the nation in steals, with 3.3 per game), but he could also land Brown in foul trouble with his offense. Basden has hit 41.7% of his three-pointers and was averaging 16.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

5. Rajon Rondo

FR., Kentucky

Rondo may be a freshman, but he has started every game for the Wildcats and is an efficient floor leader with a nose for the ball. Rondo doesn't score a ton (8.1 points per game), but he has a quick first step and excellent court awareness. Just as Brown feeds off Deron Williams, Rondo benefits from playing alongside another scoring point guard, Patrick Sparks.