2017 WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A GREAT FINAL FOUR YEAR
Now it comes down to…
Gonzaga vs. South Carolina
North Carolina vs. Oregon
Who will win the NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP?
Let’s have fun doing some diagnosis. Like great military commanders, great basketball coaches examine their opponent’s weakness and find ways to impose their strength upon the foe.
South Carolina weaknesses:
- Never been to the Final Four. Do they believe they deserve to be here?
- Must travel west to play a West Coast team.
- Averaged 67 points per game during the season. Not great fire power!
- They have one great player and several young players in a big-time game. 7 freshman (5 with high school experience only), 4 sophomores, 3 juniors, 1 senior.
- SC has not experienced the gut-wrenching losses GU has experienced in march madness
- Revenge, under control, is a strong weapon. The gamecocks don’t have this factor.
After looking closely at weaknesses, the examination of strengths is vital.
South Carolina strengths:
- Fearless coach with players that fear him more than the world’s spotlights on them. They will come to play.
- Excellent defensive team that can make scoring difficult.
- Great player who can do some damage if he’s not stopped. Sindarius Thornwell, 6’5”, two-time SEC All-Defensive Team, first-team ALL-SEC, and SEC Player of the Year, averaging 21.2 points per game.
- They are on a roll and playing their best ball of the year including beating Duke.
- Poor free throw shooting; especially Przemek Karnowski. (Team 71% – 117th in D1; Karnowski 58%)
- History of losing leads and/or late game turnovers.
- Fortunate to beat West Virginia, a very aggressive defensive team. In the final minutes, WV made four crucial mistakes to lose the game.
- Soft schedule, weak league. Don’t have to bring it every night and sometimes they don’t.
- The big “K”, should be fouled every time he gets the ball in the last 2 minutes of a close game.
- It’s the first Gonzaga team that truly believes they belong and are the best team in the USA. – Their great team that lost to Duke last year, in my opinion, was the better team but the game was bigger than GU. Duke did not win the game. Gonzaga lost it. This won’t happen this year.
- Sensational basketball coach. Crafty, wily as a fox, knows the game and makes excellent adjustments. Stays positive and calm in every situation. The Zags will be ready.
- Tough and mature players. Three fifth-year seniors and two transfers who are terrific players. Johnathan Williams, 6’9”, big time tough guy, from University of Missouri and Jordan Mathews, a fabulous shooter from the University of California. These guys are Difference makers! How do you get two transfers as good as these two men?
- Karnowski may be the most difficult player in America to guard unless you have a player as big as he is and no one does. To stop the “Big Guy” you must double or triple team him which leaves the shooters open.
- Last, but not least, Nigel Williams-Goss, a consummate point guard who played the tough Pac-12 schedule while at Washington. Williams-Goss defends at a high level and sets the table for the other four. He handles pressure with poise and can score.
Winner: Gonzaga by 7
It was fun for Coach Crowell to learn after he wrote this article that the game makers in Vegas have the Zags by 7.
Next examination: North Carolina vs. Oregon