March 24, 2005

Yeah, Baby


Posted by Charles Austin at March 24, 2005 10:02 PM

Congrats, Chuck! I think I may acually be pulling for a Big 10 team. At least until they meet the Tar Heels in the Finals.

Next up a tough Arizona team. I predict the Illini will handle the Wildcats, unless Stoudamire goes 15 for 20 from 3-point range. Then they will likely get a red-hot Louisville team with a chip on their shoulder. Garcia looked incredible in Nashville. I didn't get to watch the game, but appearantly yesterday he picked up where he left off. How quick is Augustine on defense? I'm guessing we will find out.

Posted by: Jon at 10:57 AM

As a native Louisvillian, I can tell you that they key to defending the 3s from the Cardinals is not defensive speed - Garcia and Dean are not all that quick, and Washington has speed aplenty. Virtually all the threes last night came off drive-and-dish plays. They also get good looks from solid screens. The teams that gave UofL fits this season are teams with good dribble penetration from the perimeter and solid low post offense. The 2-3 zone Pitino put in late in the season helps with the dribble penetration, but can open some long-range jumper opportunities. Georgia Tech and Washington were not able to capitalize.

Final 4 is looking like Louisville and Illinois on one side of the bracket and UNC vs. the winner of the Duke-UK slugfest on the other. This town might literally go insane if Louisville beats WVU and Kentucky gets past Utah and Duke. Then if the Illini and Tarheels both lost next Saturday, the world would end.

Posted by: Fred at 04:07 PM

Augustine is pretty quick, I think he's only 225, so he's probably a lot quicker than most 6'10" guys. Illinois has done pretty well at shutting down big men all year whether they be from WF, Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Michigan State. Some credit goes up front, but more to the backcourt. Illinois' guards are more than quick. Except for Dee Brown they have pretty good size and very effective at denying entry passes. They also double team, trap and rotate very well, so you don't see the other team getting many wide open three attempts.

Illinois doesn't blow lesser teams away the way UNC does, but that has as much to do with a different style of play as much as anything, though I'll grant 6-12 on UNC's bench is probably a lot better than 6-12 on Illinois' bench.

I may be the only person around that thinks the Louisville - WVU game is a tossup. Oh, I think Louisville is the better team, but WVU is just hot (and lucky) right now. Hard to believe they knocked off WF, and remember, it was WF that kept having to hit threes to extend the game in regulation and the first OT. When Kansas last won their National Championship the had the same kind of road Illinois would have if Illinois faced WVU in the Final Four. But, I don't want to count any unhatched Easter eggs just yet.

I am glad Illinois gets to play Arizona instead of Oklahoma State though. I could be wrong, but the matchups against OSU looked a lot tougher to me than the matchups with Arizona. Outside of Stoudamire and Frye, I'm not sure Arizona has much. If Stoudamire doesn't have a monster game or if Frye gets in foul trouble, it could get ugly. By the way, how's Frye's knee today?

Posted by: charles austin at 06:00 PM