College Hoops Breakdown: 3/29/22

By Riley Saxon

Final Four Preview

The Final Four is set, and not only is it the bluest of bloods ever, we also get Duke vs. North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

1) Duke vs 8) North Carolina

The Path: Duke let teams hang around a bit in each game, but when the crunch time arrived, the Blue Devils turned it up a notch. North Carolina’s games have been the talks of the tournament, as they nearly blew a 25 point lead to Baylor, and they ended St. Peter’s Cinderella run.

The Play: Both teams have been completely different teams than they were in the middle of the season. The Coach K Farewell Tour has overshadowed a lot of the play on the court, but since Duke’s home loss against North Carolina, Duke has been playing at another level. The same goes for North Carolina, who was on the bubble by most standards until they defeated Duke in Cameron Indoor. It seemed to flip a switch for the Tar Heels, who have been among the hottest teams in the tournament.

The Pivotal Player: Caleb Love, North Carolina.

Which Caleb Love is going to show up? The 30 point can’t-miss-in-the-second half Love, or the 20% from three 35% from the field Love. He is the undisputed X-Factor.

The Prime Fascination: It’s Duke vs. North Carolina! The hate should be palpable through the screen

The Prediction: Duke gets the ultimate revenge from the final regular season game defeat and moves Coach K one step closer to ending his career on the perfect note.

1) Kansas vs 2) Villanova

The Path: Kansas cruised through the Midwest Region, controlling each game. Villanova has defeated upset picks and fan favorites en route to their third final four in six tournaments.

The Play: Kansas has been in complete control all tournament, which has allowed them to develop their rotation and bench play to become one of the most complete teams left. Villanova has a much thinner bench, with only six players getting serious minutes in their Elite 8 game. Justin Moore’s injury, however, throws a complete wrench in Nova’s plans, as they’ll have to adapt with a short bench and several guys getting a lot more minutes.

The Pivotal Player: Remy Martin, Kansas.

He’s been an enigma all year, but he seems to finally be coming into his own. Villanova’s injury problems will certainly be a factor, especially with who could potentially step-up to replace Moore’s production.

The Prime Fascination: The pace of play. Villanova, especially now with their depth, would prefer to slow it down. They are 345 (of 358) in tempo on Kenpom, while Kansas is tied for 59th. Each team trying to set the pace will be a captivating chess match.

The Prediction: Kansas is going to take advantage over Villanova’s lack of depth, and will represent people’s last chance to take down Coach K

Ranking The Final Four Teams

Starters

  • Duke
  • North Carolina
  • Kansas
  • Villanova

Bench

  • Kansas
  • Duke
  • North Carolina
  • Villanova

Coaching

  • Villanova
  • Duke
  • Kansas
  • North Carolina

Riley Saxon

College Hoops Breakdown appears weekly at JoeTorosian.com
Riley Saxon can be reached at:
Email: rileymsaxon@gmail.com
Twitter: @CHoopsBreakdown

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