UCLA vs Memphis

ucla-logo.jpg VS memphis-logo.jpg

This is one of the more interesting matchups in the Final Four. I’m also very conflicted about it too. One the one hand, I have UCLA winning the National Championship in my office pool. On the other hand, being from Chicago I’m rooting for Derrick Rose. But as usual, I’m going to try and be objective and focus “only” on the basketball part.

Overview: Guard play will be the key to victory because when it’s all said and done, this game is going to be won on or lost on which team is able to control the tempo. UCLA’s Darren Collison, Josh Shipp and Russell Westbrook should be a good head to head matchup with Memphis’ Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts (Naismith Award finalist) and Antonio Anderson. Both teams guards are long and athletic (with the exception of Collison who at 6′ is just athletic) and they both love to get out and run. But UCLA is also very effective in the half court game and they don’t want to get into a track meet with Memphis. The key matchup is going to be the one between Kevin Love and Joey Dorsey. Dorsey is an excellent post defender and shot blocker while Love is very smart offensively and can stretch the defensive with his shooting range. Overall this should be a very fun game to watch.

The X-Factor: For Memphis, it’s definitely going to be keeping Dorsey and Robert Dozier out of foul trouble. It’s also going to come down to the effectiveness of their dribble penetration with Love and Mbah a Moute roaming the paint and how well they shoot free throws. They shot them pretty well against Texas and they are going to need to continue that trend in order to pull out a victory. For UCLA it’s going to boil down to how well Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute play. Mbah a Moute has been slowed by an ankle injury recently and it remains to be seen if he’s bounced back enough to help lead his team to victory. For Shipp, he’s been in a serious slump. It’s going to be hard for him to get going with CDR guarding him but if he does, watch out.

Prediction: UCLA

It pains me to go against another Chi-Town guy and I’m not picking the Bruins to win because I put $5 in an office pool either. I just think that UCLA going to be able to slow the pace down which is going to neutralize the Memphis guards and make them play a half court game. If they can do it, they have a chance to win. If they can’t this game is going to get out of hand…real quick. It’s now 3 straight Final Fours for the Bruins; this time should be the charm.

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