UM-Kansas: What the experts say

Final Four

March 30, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Curry Kirkpatrick, ESPN

"I think Maryland and Kansas will beat each other up enough that Oklahoma will win [the title]. Kansas has five or six NBA guys and Maryland maybe the same. Maybe not since Louisville played Houston in Albuquerque [in 1983] have there been that many in one game. What I think Kansas does a little better is they can outrun Maryland. Maryland needs to make Kansas play a half-court game. Gary's [Williams'] hope is [Lonny] Baxter and [Chris] Wilcox inside. But Kansas is so deep inside they have that advantage."

Jay Bilas, ESPN

"I think it's a coin flip. These are two evenly matched teams. You've got the two best frontcourts in the country and two really accomplished backcourts with different strengths. Kirk Hinrich and Juan Dixon are two of the top 10 guards in the country. Wilcox and [Drew] Gooden will be fun to watch. If Maryland can make Kansas play a half-court game and sets the tempo, they will win. The problem is when you do that and get back on the break, sometimes you give up on the offensive boards."

Billy Packer, CBS

"I'm going to look for two things at the start of the game that could be signals. Both teams have terrific inside games - Baxter and Wilcox for Maryland, and [Nick] Collison and Gooden for Kansas - so that if one team can establish some dominance early, it could set the tone. The backcourts nearly are equal, so it could come down to which team gets production off the bench. That could be the determining factor."

Bonnie Bernstein, CBS

"This is one of the tougher games to call because they are so evenly matched. One of Maryland's strengths is its front-line performance and its depth. Not often do you come up against a power forward tandem like Gooden and Collison. If you look at Baxter and Wilcox, you think the biggest guys might dominate, but Collison and Gooden are so agile that they can hold their own against Maryland. Much of the game will be dictated by how the referees call the game, because if the game is called close inside, both teams will have to go to their benches."

Dave Bliss, Baylor coach

"On the defensive end, Kansas is playing the best defense they've played in five years. They've always had a potent offense, but this team can guard you. ... They play three point guards, which is really unusual. ... To me, Maryland's advantage is that they have go-to people on the inside and the outside. They have great experience, great team players and they have the tremendous preparation by virtue of playing the competitive schedule they have."

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