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Keys to Victory

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Here is just some pretty basic stuff that we will need to do in order to win.

Figure Out a Way to Stop Derrick Rose :: All day long, I have tried to think up ways that we can shut down Derrick Rose. I still haven't come up with an answer. I don't think Chris Douglas-Roberts will play a big role in this game, I really think Brandon Rush will shut CDR down, so we have that half of Memphis' elite duo taken care of. Hopefully. But as far as Derrick Rose is concerned, who the hell knows what Bill Self will have up his sleeve. Both Russell Robinson (6'1") and Mario Chalmers (6'1") are too short to keep up, height-wise, with the 6'4" Derrick Rose, and Rose's strength is incredible for a guard. So, in some way, shape or form we will have to figure out a way to stop him not involving merely hoping that Russell and/or Mario can slow him down.

The best idea I can come up with is to leave a big between him and the basket at all times and force him to hit mid-range jumpers. You see, in Memphis' AASAA offense, they take the big and plop him on the opposite block as the ball-handler, the inverse of what most offenses run. This clears up the path to the lane, removing a defending big man from the path to the bucket. So, instead of following Joey Dorsey or whoever to the other side of the lane, I would stay on the same side of the basket as the ball-handler, forcing Derrick Rose (or whoever has the ball) to get past two guys to get to the bucket. Obviously, this could lead to an easy layup for Joey Dorsey (or whoever), so rotate down and force the Tigers to hit their perimeter shots. All of my potential defenses involve forcing perimeter shots, because that is the weakness of the Tigers' offense. And it really isn't all that much of a weakness, just not as much of a strength as their driving ability.

Make Our Open Threes :: Again, I can't emphasize this one enough. Memphis is a damn good defensive ball club. Probably the best defense we have seen all season, and quite possibly the greatest D in the entire country. Seriously. And so, when we are presented an open trey, specifically one of our sharp-shooters in Brandon Rush or Mario Chalmers, it needs to go through the hoop. Seriously. We can't afford to give away these types of 'freebies'; we have to take advantage of prime scoring opportunities. Seriously. Memphis is so good on offense, we will have to keep up on our end, no matter how good our D plays, and we will have to knock down open 3's if we really do keep up with the Tigers. Seriously.

Stay Loose and Relaxed :: Maybe I'm wrong, but there are only two games all season long where I can say, without a doubt, we came out completely loose. The Big 12 Championship game against the Texas Longhorns, and on Saturday night in the Final Four. Those, arguably, were the two best games we have played all season long. Those were also the two best teams we played all season, bar none. Well, guess what? Memphis is far better than both of those teams, despite my previous doubts. So, I am expecting an even better showing than those two games, as we rise to an even higher occasion to take on an even better team.

That's all. If we can do all three things, I really expect us to win.

Of course, the odds that we actually come out loose and relaxed, shoot an insane percentage from behind the three-point line and completely shut down Derrick Rose are about 5%. We can win without doing all of those things, but I can guarantee a victory if we do all three, or even two of three.

Open Thread will be up shortly, I am off to bake cookies*.

ROCK CHALK!

* I baked some delicious sugar cookies prior to Saturday's tipoff, and I'm not risking anything for the National Championship.