Capsule looks at the Final Four teams

March 28, 2010|By Shannon Ryan | Tribune Newspapers

MICHIGAN STATE (27-8, No. 5 seed)

How it got here: Beat New Mexico State, Maryland, Northern Iowa, Tennessee.

Things to know: This is the Spartans' sixth Final Four trip in 12 seasons; coach Tom Izzo is only the seventh coach to reach the Final Four that many times.

Player to watch: Forward Durrell Summers, who scored 21 points to help beat Tennessee in the Elite Eight, has scored in double digits in seven straight NCAA tournament games.

Key stat: Michigan State is deep, using 18 starting lineups with 10 players starting.

Strength: The Spartans lead the nation in average rebounding margin at plus-9 and average 38.8 boards per game.

Weakness: Injuries. Korie Lucious has been adequate filling in for point guard Kalin Lucas, who's out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, but the Spartans also are dealing with injuries to Delvon Roe (knee, wrist) and Chris Allen (ankle).

BUTLER (32-4, No. 5 seed)

How it got here: Beat UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, Kansas State.

Things to know: The last time a team played in its hometown for the Final Four was 1972, when UCLA won the national title in Los Angeles. Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse is only a few miles from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Player to watch: Gordon Hayward, a 6-9 sophomore swingman, averages 15.2 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Key stat: The Bulldogs shoot 34.6 percent on 3-pointers, helped by Shelvin Mack's 40 percent mark.

Strength: The Bulldogs are great at slowing the tempo. They allow only 59.8 points per game.

Weakness: They aren't scoring machines, averaging only 69.8 points as a product of their tempo.

WEST VIRGINIA (31-6, No. 2 seed)

How it got here: Beat Morgan State, Missouri, Washington, Kentucky.

Things to know: West Virginia is in the Final Four for the first time since 1959. Coach Bob Huggins is back for the first time since taking Cincinnati in 1992.

Player to watch: Point guard Joe Mazzulla entered the regional final against Kentucky averaging only 2.2 points but scored 17 to help beat the Wildcats. He started in place of injured Darryl Bryant, who might return this weekend.

Key stat: The Mountaineers made 43.5 percent of their 3-pointers against Kentucky and shoot 33.6 percent on the season.

Strength: Their athletic forwards, especially Da'Sean Butler, are hard to match up with offensively, and their 1-3-1 defense can fluster opponents.

Weakness: The Mountaineers shoot 70.3 percent on free throws and made only 23 of 34 against Kentucky.

DUKE (33-5, No. 1 seed)

How it got here: Beat Arkansas Pine-Bluff, California, Purdue and Baylor.

Things to know: Duke is back in the Final Four for the first time in six seasons and the 11th time under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils are seeking their first national title since 2001.

Player to watch: Kyle Singler, a junior forward who averages 17.9 points, is coming off a regional final victory over Baylor in which he went 0-for-10 from the field.

Key stat: Only Baylor has cracked 60 points on Duke in the tournament. For the season, the Blue Devils allow 60.9 points per game.

Strength: The Blue Devils' 75.6 percent free-throw shooting is best among the Final Four teams.

Weakness: Finding additional scorers. Duke averages 77.7 points, and Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith account for 53.1 of them.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.