VETTEL: Final Four Preview, Part Two

Today we move on to what I believe are the two teams that will play for the title Monday night. Florida and Georgetown played a whale of a game last year that was won on an incredible basket by Spiderman (Corey Brewer). It was the toughest game the Gators had in their magical four game run last spring.

This spring has already been tougher for the Gators and there's no guarantee that they will even reach the final against a UCLA team that had the best regular season of anyone in the country. Georgetown on the other hand will be part of the first battle of seven-foot centers the Final Four has seen since Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon. Hibbert versus Oden alone is worth the price of a ticket.

Now let's take a look at why the Hoyas and Gators will be cutting down the nets in Atlanta. We'll also examine why they won't and check out the all important X-Factor who will make the difference one way or the other.

Georgetown Hoyas

Why they will win it all -----

  1. The Hoyas have the aforementioned Jeff Green who no one else can really match up with. I love big guys who play the "3".
  2. Roy Hibbert is bigger, stronger and older than the other big guys in Atlanta. Five straight double-doubles is pretty impressive this tome of year.
  3. No other team has had to show the mettle they displayed in coming back to beat an outstanding North Carolina team.
  4. Nobody plays better defense as evidenced by their opponents' paltry 36.2 percent shooting from the field. They held North Carolina to 5-for-21 and helped the Tar Heels miss 19 of their last 20 shots.
  5. John Thompson II promises to beat up anyone who takes his son out of the NCAA Championship hunt.

Why they won't win it all -----

  1. Roy Hibbert is too foul prone. He gets in trouble and they are not as good.
  2. The younger Thompson has never experienced anything like this.
  3. Green has a tendency to disappear on occasion. As much as I love his game, you have to wonder whether or not he'll bring it.
  4. Might be the only team "just happy to be there".
  5. A Hoya is a rock. A rock never wins, except in a really good beer commercial.

X-Factor -----

Jessie Sapp won't be the pick of many, but he's mine. Most people are focused on Jonathan Wallace, but Sapp is the guy to watch. He was superb against Carolina with 15 points and eight assists and has the best assist/turnover ratio (1.8) on the team. He also plays superb defense which will be in very high demand.

Florida Gators

Why they will win it all -----

  1. Are you kidding me? They have all five starters back from the defending NCAA Champions.
  2. They are the most balanced team in the tournament both in terms of five starters averaging double figures and their ability to score all over the floor.
  3. A thirst for history that has to be quenched. The Gators are gunning to be the first repeat champs in 15 years. It's a powerful motivator.
  4. Unbelievable Karma. They're back in the Georgia Dome where they just won the SEC Tournament and the football team claimed the SEC Title just four months ago.
  5. NDongo!

Why they won't win it all -----

  1. There's a reason why no one has in more than a decade. It's hard!
  2. The three teams in Atlanta ALL have a significant revenge motive.
  3. Slow starts have put them in jeopardy. You keep playing with fire, eventually you get burned.
  4. Bench support hasn't been there. Florida's bench scored just seven against Oregon and two in the Butler game. In last year's final the Gators got 15 points from its reserves. Will they come through if needed?
  5. The State of Georgia might spontaneously combust if there's another Gator celebration up there.

X-Factor -----

Taurean Green is the straw that stirs the Gator drink. He doesn't have to score, but he has to run the team and defend his man. His eight assist one turnover game against UCLA will be almost impossible to duplicate. He will be facing tremendous talent in Atlanta and can't be outplayed. Honorable mention X-factor is Walter Hodge who I suspect will have to have a great game (or two) in order for Florida to bring home the trophy.

So that's how I see it. Any of the four can win it, but one of these two will.

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