March Madness – The Final Four

(image: Balakov)

Basketball fans filled sports bars and living rooms over the past four days to watch the Sweet Sixteen become the Elite Eight and ultimately the Final Four. The teams have this week to recover, strategize and practice. Games begin again on Saturday.

Here’s Jeff Goodman’s ranking of the Final Four teams.

Final Four preview: Breaking down the teams

by: Jeff Goodman

Now that we’ve got the Final Four matchups, we’re going to break down all four teams so you can see who has the inside track to cutting down the nets on April 6 at Ford Field in Detroit.

Halfcourt offense
1. North Carolina — The Tar Heels are more dangerous in transition, but Roy Williams’ team can also score in the halfcourt with Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson down low and Wayne Ellington and Danny Green on the wings.
2. Michigan State
3. UConn
4. Villanova

Transition offense
1. North Carolina — There’s just no one like Ty Lawson when it comes to pushing the ball in the open court. He has a gear like virtually no one else in the country.
2. UConn
3. Villanova
4. Michigan State

Defense
1. Villanova — The way Jay Wright’s team has been guarding the last few games has been the difference in the Wildcats getting to the Final Four.
2. Michigan State
3. UConn
4. North Carolina

Backcourt
1. North Carolina — Ty Lawson is as good as anyone on the offensive end, and Wayne Ellington is the perfect complement with his smooth stroke from the perimeter.
2. UConn
3. Michigan State
4. Villanova

Frontcourt
1. North Carolina — Tyler Hansbrough, Deon Thompson, Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller are four big bodies that Roy Williams can rotate in and out of the lineup.
2. UConn
3. Michigan State
4. Villanova

Coaching
1. Tom Izzo, Michigan State — I know Jim Calhoun has two national titles, but Izzo has been to five Final Fours in the last 11 years with less talent.
2. Jim Calhoun, UConn
3. Roy Williams, North Carolina
4. Jay Wright, Villanova

Rebounding
1. Michigan State — Tom Izzo’s team may not appear physically imposing, but the Spartans out-rebound their opponents by nearly 10 per game.
2. UConn
3. North Carolina
4. Villanova

3-point shooting
1. North Carolina — The Tar Heels have three guys who make more than 40 percent of their shots from beyond the arc: Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington.
2. Villanova
3. Michigan State
4. UConn

Free-throw shooting
1. North Carolina — Four of the five starters shoot more than 77 percent from the line.
2. Villanova
3. Michigan State
4. UConn

Experience
1. North Carolina — Tyler Hansbrough is a four-year starter and juniors Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green have logged a ton of meaningful minutes since arriving in Chapel Hill.
2. UConn
3. Villanova
4. Michigan State

Size/Speed/Athletic ability
1. UConn — With Hasheem Thabeet up front and guys like Jeff Adrien, Stanley Robinson and Kemba Walker, the Huskies have size, speed and athletes.
2. Villanova
3. North Carolina
4. Michigan State

Fan Support
1. North Carolina — The Tar Heel fans are on par with anyone in the nation, including Kentucky.
2. UConn
3. Michigan State
4. Villanova

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com or check out his blog, Good ‘N Plenty.

Click here for the original post.

Click here to see the updated brackets.

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