Thursday, March 26, 2009

Missouri vs. Memphis Sweet 16 Preview

Why Missouri Can Win: Their press and the Memphis point guard. Tyreke Evans has been phenomenal this season as Coach Cal has slid him into the point guard's role, something Evans had never done before. It was his play in the half court that allowed the Memphis offense to be good enough to left their defense win games. Setting up plays and driving and dishing in the half court is one thing. Trying to break what is probably the best full court press in the country as an inexperienced point guard and a freshman to boot is a much different story. Missouri forces 19 turnovers a game, and if they can fluster Evans, Mizzou has a very real shot at winning the battle of the Tiger.

Why Memphis Can Win: Defense. They are, according to KenPom, the best defensive team in the country, allowing just 0.81 points per defensive possession (which is an outstanding number by the way). Their offense has been slow to come around this year, what with their point guard issues and their inability to knock down threes before this tournament began. But even last season, it was defense that the Tigers hung their hat on. They are just as good, if not better this season.

Key To The Game: Offensive rebounding. Despite all the athletes, when it comes down to it Mizzou is a finesse team. Their two best player, Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll, are both face-up, perimeter oriented forwards that excel in their motion offense (FYI - that motion offense has allowed them to average 18.2 apg as a team, tops in college hoops). Guys like Robert Dozier, Pierre Henderson-Niles, and Shawn Taggart are much stronger in the paint, especially on the glass. For Mizzou to win, they need to win the rebounding battle.

BIAH Pick: Missouri. I think Mizzou comes out playing well, and that their press really gets to Evans.

No comments: