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Friday, March 23rd 2007

Ready For Some Basketball?

I Have Tremendous Respect For Hansbrough

Plenty of college stars’ games don’t translate to the NBA. Despite his size, I am convinced that Hansbrough’s will. USC faces a tough task tonight. With its personnel, limiting a truly dominant post presence is the hardest thing for USC to do. But USC has shown some stifling perimeter defense, and they may be able to give Hansbrough his monster game and still win (a la what they did with Durant and Texas). Plus they always have last year going for them,

Then again, the Trojans did fine the last time they played. In December 2005, USC beat the visiting Tar Heels 74-59 — it remains Williams’ most-lopsided loss in his four years as head coach at Carolina.

“They beat us pretty good,” Hansbrough said. “It stuck with us for a while because we went straight home for Christmas. Christmas wasn’t as good.

Emphasis is my own.

This should be a high scoring game. Both teams love to run, unfortunately North Carolina is deeper down the bench. And despite USC’s tremendous athletes, the Carolina team has us beat there as well. You may see twelve guys roll into the game for Roy Williams, no kidding (well, eleven with the illness). If the Carolina Blue have to lose one of the starting five it is Reyshaun Terry. The starting small forward’s illness will help the Trojans, but because of N.C.’s depth, not much (now if Ty Lawson can come down with the flu).

Also, as much as I (and every pundit) loved the defense on talented Texas point D.J. Augustine, Ty Lawson may be even quicker.

While you may slow Carolina down some, USC will not be able to hold North Carolina to say something like sixty points (watch: that will be exactly what happens).

Knowing the running game is coming USC has two things it must do to give itself a shot. It must be hot from the three point line. The three point arc is one area where ‘SC has the definite advantage. If we see a performance anywhere near say the one against Washington St. in the PAC 10 tourney then this Trojan team will beat anyone in the country. It must, off set situations, force Tyler Hansbrough to try to carry this team. The kid can shoot free throws but you still must use your fouls judiciously.

Those are kind’ve obvious things (“Hey, if you shoot well you might win!”) but I really do think they’re necessary to put USC in a situation to win this game.

USCFootball.com waxes that the Carolina team is not overly large (which is a problem for USC’s size). True, and while important, Hansbrough obviously plays larger than he is. USC’s lack of size in the front court plays against not just guarding larger post players but talented ones as well. I will agree though that this is the best possible matchup for ‘SC. I would not want to be playing Ohio St (despite their struggles) or Florida or Kansas (who we got pounded by earlier this year).

Fight On! Beat The Tar Heels!