Enjoy him in the play-in game against Radford on Tuesday because it'll be rough one for him and the rest of his squad when they take on Villanova. The Crimson Tide's It'll be the Crimson Tide's inability to mount a balanced scoring attack that will be their undoing just as it was in the SEC semifinals against Kentucky. Brunson won't go for plus points with the Mountaineers' Jevon Carter, arguably the best on-the-ball defender in the nation hounding him, but that's the beauty of the SN Player of the Year's game.
He can be just as effective creating opportunities for others. West Virginia's patented full-court pressure won't crack grizzled veterans such as Villanova's Mikal Bridges and Phil Booth, both of whom will have big games.
Will the Red Raiders look like the squad that won seven in a row in what might be the nation's most competitive conference in the nation, or the team that followed that streak with four straight losses? Expect a gargantuan effort from Texas Tech senior Keenan Evans, but it won't be enough to unnerve Villanova. Duke cannot defend on the perimeter and Trevon Duval is simply too shaky as a primary ball-handler, averaging 2.
No offense to any of Villanova's post players, but Ayton's going to score at will. If that were Villanova's only issue, concerning the nimble , pounder, it might have a shot. It's his defense on the perimeter in pick-and-roll situations that will complicate matters for Brunson as a scorer and a distributor, stifling Villanova's offense. Arizona's length, namely Trier and Alkins, both of whom stand , when it goes with a big backcourt that will give Villanova problems it can't solve.
East South Midwest West. It seems unlikely KU would risk foul trouble by trapping. Would KU be bold enough to have him hang back and dare the Wildcats to shoot from deep? Hedge hard and risk foul trouble?
The old record was established in by VMI, which played an all-out, uptempo style and hit of from long distance. That represented 38 percent of the baskets made by the Keydets. Villanova gets just about as much of its offense from long distance. Villanova redshirt junior guard Phil Booth. You should know him well already, because he ws the surprise hero of the NCAA championship game.
When Villanova chose to abandon its customary offensive approach in the final against North Carolina and rely on isolations, it was Booth who best was able to exploit his matchup and wound up with 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 from the line. He also missed seven games at midseason with a broken hand. He still can deliver a scoring outburst when necessary and available; he scored 20 points in a big win over Gonzaga and 21 in the first of two victories over Xavier.
But otherwise he functions as a connector and does his job beautifully. This has been the best team in college basketball from the start of the year, and though Kansas has closed the gap this ought to be another step forward for the Wildcats.
Were this game played at the end of February rather than now, they would be an overwhelming choice to win.