Scouts' Takes

April 07, 2014

SOUTH

FLORIDA (1)

The Gators set more ball screens than anyone in the country. When their four man screens—it can be Will Yeguete, Casey Prather or Dorian Finney-Smith—he pops out and drives the heck out of it. If you switch, then you have your four man guarding the MVP of the SEC, Scottie Wilbekin. Not a good matchup. Florida's press is designed more to slow you down than turn you over. They'll switch defenses; they went to a 1-3-1 for two possessions each against UCLA and Dayton, all of which were stops. That can be the difference in a Final Four game.

EAST

(7) UCONN

You better be ready to play defense for 35 seconds. Make [Frank] Kaminsky fall in love with the jumper, but make him think about it—don't give him anything in rhythm. On defense they're going to get extremely happy if you hit a couple of jump shots early because it means you'll take more. It's O.K. if you drive, kick and then shoot, but the key is constantly attacking the rim. Be ready to finish through contact because they play in the smashmouth league and still stay out of foul trouble.

(1) FLORIDA

The Wildcats' offensive rebounding overwhelms a second straight Big Ten team, while the Gators avenge their last loss—to UConn, 31 games ago. The best defensive team (Florida) then thwarts the scariest running team (Kentucky) to earn Billy Donovan his third title.

(8) KENTUCKY

WEST

WISCONSIN (2)

You think they're not that big, but that benefits them, especially with their two small guards, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. It's hard to keep them in front of you, they get into the heart of defenses over and over, and when they get to the line, they make all of them. That's such a huge thing. On defense they all move well, especially forwards Niels Giffey, DeAndre Daniels and Phil Nolan. That allows them to jump out on a ball screen or even switch on some stuff. If one of them ends up on a smaller guy, they're fine.

MIDWEST

(8) KENTUCKY

On offense they attack the paint from every position. The five [Dakari Johnson] can post, the four [Julius Randle] can post and drive, and all the guards are capable of putting it on the deck. All of them are looking for opportunities, so you can never relax—miss one rotation, they see it and attack. Transition is one way to beat their defense. You negate some of their length when they're not back and loaded up. When they're set, you can't see much, so you have to attack them in space.

PHOTOPORTER BINKS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (WILDCAT) PHOTOGREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GATOR)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)