And that's what they've done,
successfully, at least year before most – at least those who don't reside in
John Brady's Tigers and
Howland's Bruins played national championship-caliber defense Saturday
during the respective regional championship victories over
The teams will hook up in the RCA
Dome next Saturday afternoon in one of the Final Four semifinals and will taking
different travel routes to
But the method used in extending their seasons another week were remarkable comparable, at least from a defensive standpoint.
Their defenses all but enveloped potent frontcourts while pressuring jump shooters and rendering transition offenses negligible.
LSU generated much more in the way
of offensive productivity during its 70-60 overtime victory over the Longhorns
than did UCLA in its 50-45, ugly-as-all-get-out victory over top-seed
And that was due to the performance of post players Glen Davis (26 points) and Tyrus Thomas (21), who dominated a frontcourt that included the Big 12's Player of the Year (P.J. Tucker) and the possible first choice in the next NBA Draft (LaMarcus Aldridge).
Needless to say, the
preparation-obsessed Howland and his staff are probably already getting
bleary-eyed squinting at game footage of the Tigers while trying to fashion a
scheme to keep Davis and Thomas from doing to the Bruins what they did to
As for LSU's preparation for the Bruins' offense . . . well, if Saturday was a barometer, that wouldn't seem to be much of a problem.
Other than center Ryan Hollins (six of seven from the field), UCLA's starters were a combined three of 25 from the field.
Once again, that was 22 misses in 25 attempts with the only shots to sink being two first-half 3-pointers by Arron Afflalo and a jumper along the right baseline late in the game by his backcourt mate, Jordan Farmar.
But Garrett Temple, who did a solid job on Duke All-America J.J. Redick (three of 18 from the field), and the Tigers' only senior starter, Darrel Mitchell, will undoubtedly draw the assignments on Afflalo and Farmar, respectively.
And how easily could we be talking about a
different pair of teams representing the
Remember, LSU needed a 3-pointer
from Darrel Mitchell to edge Texas
A&M, 58-57, in a second-round game in
And the Bruins trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half Thursday night before scoring the final 11 points to edge Gonzaga, 73-71, in the most stunning comeback of the tournament.
Scout.com's All-Regional teams:
MVP: Glen Davis (LSU)
MVP: Ryan Hollins (UCLA)
A look at Sunday's other regional finals:
All times Eastern
Things to consider: The
Patriots, in wins over
Frank's Spin: It's about
time that the Huskies put together something close to a solid effort on both
ends of the floor. If they pick Sunday to do it, they'll be playing in
No. 1 Villanova (28-4) vs. No. 3
Things to consider: Randy
Lowry and Will
Sheridan saved the day --- more specifically, the season --- for the
region's top seed in its overtime victory over
Frank's Spin: Assuming they
can keep Noah from dominating play – which
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.frankhoops.com.