I pulled together the SB Nation sites for the teams participating in the Final Four to break down the matchups and give everyone a one stop shop for learning about these teams. This is part four of a five part series that started Wednesday night and runs through Friday.
Up next, we look at what why each team is going to fall flat on its face.
Editor’s Note: I’m joined on this panel by Anthony Broome from Maize and Brew, Jack Brooks from VU Hoops, and Russell Steinberg from Mid Major Madness. If you missed the previous installment in this series, you can find it here:
What weaknesses will your team exploit to tear the opponent apart on Saturday?
AB: Loyola hasn’t seen anyone as dangerous as Michigan in this tournament and I can see their defense grinding them down and giving the toughest time scoring that we have seen so far over the last couple of weekends. Michigan has the advantage in every key spot in this basketball game.
RS: Does Michigan have weaknesses? I haven’t seen any yet. I do think that if Michigan comes out cold and lets Loyola hang around that Michigan could be in some trouble. Michigan might be more talented overall but I think Loyola has more options.
JB: Kansas is basically a worse version of Villanova this year. Omari isn’t quite the presence inside that Udoka is, but he still is a great shot blocker and shoots 45% from three. Brunson is probably the only collegiate point guard better than De’Vonte Graham, Donte DiVincenzo is a bigger, stronger version of Malik Newman, and Mikal Bridges combines the shooting of Svi Mykhailiuk with LaGerald Vick’s athleticism. Villanova is just too well balanced for Kansas to handle.
AM: Everyone talks about how thin this Kansas team is, but Villanova is even thinner, with only 6 players getting significant minutes. Foul trouble can hit them especially hard, and Kansas has gotten much better recently at drawing fouls. Also, one of the keys to Villanova’s success this year has been the mismatches that Omari Spellman creates, but KU has 3 different big guys with 3 different skill sets that will cause plenty of problems for the Wildcats in the post.
Give me your best trash talk. It can literally be about anything (just keep it clean).
AB: Sister Jean is a woman of faith and I respect that, but her hogging the spotlight is taking away attention from the guys on the court that have made her relevant this season. There’s no special aura about her or that she has the Lord on her side. God cares not for your sportsball games and there are plenty of men and women of faith in college basketball. If Sister Jean is magical, why is Loyola just now making their run to a Final Four? That’s what I thought.
RS: It’s cute that the Michigan guy has to resort to tearing down Sister Jean to find good trash talk. Unfortunately, this game is going to just be more of the same for Michigan. They were second best in 2013. They’re the second-best program in their state. They were in that second tier of the Big Ten this year. They’re again going to be forgotten as an “also participated” in this Final Four.
JB: Villanova beat a one-seeded Kansas the last time they won a title (only two years ago!), and they’re going to do it again. Michigan is the only team to lose to [VACATED] in the title game, and this Final Four is going to finally prove to Loyola and the Jesuits that the Augustinians will prevail.
AM: Villanova got the win the last time these two teams played in the tournament, but they benefited from one of the most puzzling no-calls followed by a questionable foul call going the other way in order to pull it off, and Devonte Graham is going to be out for revenge. Not only that, but San Antonio is a magical place for the Jayhawks, so there is no way that they don’t come away with another championship.
Be sure to check back later today, when we finish the series with some final thoughts and predictions.