"It's All About The Game"

Final Four matchups are set for Indy

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Stephens, Featured Reporter

 

It's that time of the year.

April 4, 2015 - Talk about time flies. It seems that just a week ago their were 68 teams for the $ NCAA Division One Basketball Championship. The four remaining teams Kentucky (SEC), Wisconsin (BIG-10), Duke (ACC), and Michigan State represent the current decade of high level college basketball programs in the USA.

Kentucky is chasing basketball history with Don Calapari at the controls. Bo Ryan has excelled in the BIG-TEN with the exception of his coronation as king of the hill. Don Tom Izzo leads the hot Spartans for a second coronation to added to his resume. Coach K is the most celebrated college coach in the past two decades willing and able to add to his accolades.

In the round of 16 fellow Dons Rick Pitino of Louisville, and Roy Williams of North Carolina were knocking at the door to get to Indy. Veteran coaches Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Mark Few (Gonzaga) still young himself, Mark
Gottfried (N.C. St.) two 16’s in four years were all in the mix at one point. State is an intriguing program and they have done it before. It just goes to show how difficult it is to get to the Final Four.

To finalize the college scene before we get to the Final Four participates let’s look back at the tournament which features the $ packed conferences against the Little Engine that Could which makes this the most intriguing multi-school tournament in college athletics. The college pundits debate back and fourth what conference is tops and who deserves the most
bids and who got left out.

When the preliminary smoke had cleared and there were 16 teams left the ACC had five teams in the hunt Notre Dame, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. The PAC-12 had three Arizona, UCLA, and Utah. The BIG-10 had two and still do in Michigan State and Wisconsin. The great BIG-8 had two ? I had seen that more than once featured Oklahoma and West Virginia. The BIG-EAST (Xavier), SEC (Kentucky), and West Coast (Gonzaga) had one team remaining. Just citing the facts.

In the first matchup from Indianapolis with a 6:09 pm expected tip off its Duke (33-4) and Michigan State (27-11) in a ACC-BIG-10 battle.

The Blue Devils defeated Robert Morris 85-56, San Diego St. 69-49, Utah 63-57and Gonzaga 66-52. In their final two games freshman Justise Winslow became the featured scorer in their offense. Winslow scored 21pts., grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots against Utah. Winslow for good measure dropped 16 points and 5 rebounds against Gonzaga. Soph.Matt Jones also chipped in with 16 points and 3 rebounds against the Zags. Okafor averaged 7.5pts.and 8 rebounds in Duke’s last two games. Jones has played well and Plumlee has been adequate giving Okofor some rest minutes.

These are Duke's stats for the entire season.

6’11 Fr. Jahlil Okafor 17.5pts. 8.7 rebs.
6’1 Sr. Quinn Cook 15.5pts.
6’6 Fr. Justise Winslow 12.5pts. 6.3 rebs.
6’1 Fr. Tyus Jones 11.6pts. 5.7. asst.
6’5 Soph. Matt Jones 6.1pts.
6’9 Jr. Amile Jefferson 6.4pts. 5.7 rebs.
7’ Jr. Marshall Plumlee 2.3

Michigan State winners of the East regional under Don Izzo defeated Georgia 70-63. Virginia 60-54. Oklahoma 62-58. and Louisville 76-70 (OT).

In their final two games Travis Trice pumped in 24 points and Denzel Valentine added 18 points while grabbing 7 rebounds. In their overtime comeback win against Louisville Trice again led the Spartans with 17 points and 5 assists. Valentine chipped in with15points while Bryn Forbes finished
with 14 points. State takes on the coach’s personality a tough no-nonsense approach to the glass to negate their shooting woes.

Stats:

6’ Sr. Travis Tice 15.3pts. 5.1asst.
6’5 Jr. Denzel Valentine 14.4pts. 6.2 rebs. 4.4 asst.
6’6 Sr. Branden Dawson 11.9pts. 9.1 rebs.
6’3 Jr. Bryn Forbes 8.7pts.
6’9 Jr. Matt Costello 7. pts. 5.2 rebs.
6’9 Soph. Gavin Schilling 5.2 pts. 3.9 rebs.
6’6 Fr. Marvin Clark 4.6pts.
5’10 Fr. Lourawls Nairn 2.2

This should be a dog fight but with the recent emergence of Winslow going with the Dukies on this one. Plumlee again will need to give Okafor some rest minutes while he tangles with Izzo’s grown men. State doesn’t
shoot well as K and Izzo will match defenses.

In the nightcap tip off set for 8:49 pm it’s the Wildcats of Kentucky chasing history and the Wisconsin Badgers looking for revenge from last year’s stunning loss.

The Wildcats beat Hampton 79-56, Cincinnati 64-5, West Virginia 78-39 and Notre Dame 68-66.

The Fighting Irish kept the floor spread beating the bigger Wildcats off the dribble. This was the same team that held West Virginia to 24.1% shooting as the Mountaineers suffered a 39 point beating.

In their final two games against West Virginia their were 5 players in double figures led by Trey Lyles 14pts and 7 rebounds. Andrew Harrison finished with 13 points.

Aaron Harrison added 12 along with Dakari Johnson and Devin Booker. Tyler Ulis the 5.9 dynamo as quietly logged the 4th most minutes of anybody on the team. Karl Towns exploded for 25 points and 5 rebounds against Notre Dame. Devin Booker added 10.

Stats:

6’6 So. Aaron Harrison 11pts. 2.6rebs.
6’6 Fr. Devin Booker 10.1pts.
6’11 Fr. Karl-Anthony-Towns 10.1pts. 6.6rebs.
6’6 So. Andrew Harrison 9.2pts. 3.6 asst.
7’ Jr. Willie Cauley-Stein 9.1pts. 6.5 rebs.
6’10 Fr. Trey Lyles 8.7pts. 5.3 rebs.
7’ So. Dakari Johnson 6.5pts. 4.7 rebs.
5’9 Fr. Tyler Ulis 5.6pts. 3.7 asst.

Wisconsin comes into this years semi-final looking for revenge after last years stunning loss to the Wildcats. Wisconsin defeated Coastal Carolina 86-72, Oregon 72-65, North Carolina 79-72 and Arizona 85-78.

In their final two games against North Carolina Sam Dekker poured in 23 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Frank Kaminsky chipped in with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Nigel Brown added 12 points and 6 rebounds. Kaminsky led the Badgers with 29 points and 6 rebounds against Arizona. Sam Dekker added 27 points and 5 rebounds. Guard Josh Gasser finished with 10 points.

Wisconsin get’s the bulk of their scoring from their frontcourt. Gassor’s 10 points was a pleasant surprise. Obviously with back to back Final Fours this team is no fluke. They will have to control the tempo with the Wildcats in order to stop the historic run. Another barnburner with Wildcats the
winners again.

Stats:

7’ Sr. Frank Kaminsky 18.7pts. 8rebs.
6’9 Jr. Sam Dekker 13.9pts. 5.5rebs.
6’8 So. Nigel Hayes 12.4pts. 6.3rebs.
6’4 Sr. John Gasser 6.9pts. 3.4rebs.
6’4 So. Bronson Koenig 8.6pts.
6’3 Sr. Traevon Jackson (inj) 8.6pts.


 


 
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