The UCONN Huskies upset the second seeded San Diego State Aztecs en route to their eight straight win and Elite 8 appearance. UCONN’s 74-67 win was a blend of offensive efficiency and a lot of Kemba Walker. However, the Huskies will face the nation’s best player, Derrick Williams. Williams scored 32 points against the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16. More impressively, of the 55 points the Wildcats scored in second half against the Blue Devils, Williams contributed only seven points. Williams is one of the most efficient scorers in all the land and the Huksies will have to contain him inside. Which team will advance to the Final Four?
What To Watch For:
1. Arizona’s Interior Defense:
Arizona has really struggled to defend the basket this season, evident in their close wins against Memphis Tigers and Texas Longhorns. I can see a lot of penetration by Walker. Walker going at Derrick Williams, drawing fouls, and dishing the ball out will be the key to this match-up.
2. Kemba’s Shooting:
On the season, Kemba shot 34% from three-point range. However, during UCONN’s eight-game win streak, Walker has only shot 29% from behind the arc. However, Walker has been spectacular in the paint. Walker has shot 52% from the field against the some of the nation’s best teams. During the NCAA Tournament, Walker has nailed 89% of his free throws.
Arizona put together one of the best second halves of basketball against Duke. The Wildcats outscored the Blue Devils 55 to 33 in the second half en route to their 93-77 victory. Knocking out the defending National Champions is an emotional high for any team. Have the Wildcats gotten too high off of the victory? I think this is the biggest X-Factor of the game.
In contrast, UCONN has battled and clawed out victories over the last three weeks. They’ve rode their emotional highs and have never come out flat.
I think the Huskies will win this game. I think it’ll be tough for Arizona to come out and play back-to-back emotional games against top tier opponents. The Huskies have not faced a player as talented as Derrick Williams all season and he’ll give them trouble all over the court. Williams was 5 for 6 from three-point range against Duke, but I think that UCONN is just playing too well right now to lose to a lesser opponent. Expect Kemba to have a monster game as the UCONN Huskies reach their second Final Four in the last three seasons.