Scouting the Final Four teams

HOUSTON -- A quick scouting report on the four Final Four teams by coaches who faced off against at least one of the teams multiple times this season:


Cleveland State faced the Bulldogs three times and lost all three games (79-56 on Jan. 7, 73-61 on Feb. 5 and 76-68 on March 5 in the Horizon tournament).

Here is Cleveland State coach Gary Waters' take on Butler:

"You've got to keep them off the glass. They attack it very hard. That was our weakness this year. They killed us on the glass. We had Norris Cole, but we couldn't contain them on the backboard. We didn't do enough to keep them off the glass. That's the No. 1 thing.

"The second things is you've got to be more disciplined and you've got to defend Shelvin Mack. If not, he'll score points on you. We had everyone shut down but him and then Shawn Vanzant hit two 3s on us. I'd do it over again, though, and have other guys beat you. You can't let Mack beat you.

"In addition to Mack, they can get numerous putbacks, second and third chances, too.

"If you let them get to the offensive glass, then suddenly Khyle Marshall and Andrew Smith become dominant people.

"I believe they can win the national title. They've got a chance with who is left."


Pitt split with UConn, beating the Huskies 79-63 on Dec. 27 and losing in the Big East tournament 76-74 on March 10.

Here is Pitt coach Jamie Dixon's take on the Huskies:

"You've got to contain the penetration and limit the transition buckets, and you can't give up the offensive rebounds.

"You've got to make Kemba Walker make jump shots.

"You've got to keep them off the foul line. Too many people have been fouling them.

"When they go small, that's what makes them different. They can score well with Roscoe Smith or Jamal Coombs-McDaniel at the 4. That can open up things for them. That gives them a lot of versatility. They like to start big and go small at the 4 right away."


Georgia split with Kentucky, beating the Wildcats 77-70 on Jan. 8 and losing 66-60 on Jan. 29.

Here is Georgia coach Mark Fox's take on the Wildcats:

"You've got to get them in foul trouble. You've got to get into their bench if you can.

"They are really hard to guard, though, because they can spread you out. Kentucky isn't as big without [Patrick] Patterson and [DeMarcus] Cousins. They're longer in other places and in some ways better than last year.

"They had more speed last year with John Wall in the open court, but this year they can spread you out and hit you in a lot of other places. They force you into help situations.

"Josh Harrellson has bought into his role all year as a rebounder and made a living off it. He knows off the first-shot miss that he's going after it. He's hunting for the offensive rebound. The length of DeAndre Liggins and Terrence Jones and Darius Miller give them rebounders that complement each other. Harrellson isn't Cousins, but he doesn't care about scoring. He wants to rebound.

"I think they've got great team chemistry right now and the right mix. They are playing really well together.

"Brandon Knight is making big shots for them. You can't let Liggins make that corner 3. You've got to take them out of their rhythm. John [Calipari] has them playing well defensively. They didn't finish road games early in our league but they matured as a group.

"We could match up with them with our bigs, but it was hard to guard them on the wings. You'll have your hands full."

Virginia Commonwealth

Drexel split with VCU in the regular season, losing to the Rams 52-48 on Jan. 5 and beating them 64-60 on Feb. 23, and then lost 62-60 in the CAA tournament on March 5.

Here is Drexel coach Bruiser Flint's take on the Rams:

"What I can't believe is how these teams have let these guys shoot the stand-still 3-point shot.

"You have to make them drive and play within the 3-point line. You have to make Joey Rodriguez finish at the basket. He's little so you've got to make him drive and put the ball on the floor. He and the other guys are good stand-still 3-point shooters.

"They have five guys on the floor that can shoot 3s, and you've got to make them shoot layups and make them shoot 2s. They don't want to play that way. They want to drive and kick. But you've got to make them finish at the rim.

"You've got to try and pound them around the basket. Teams try to press them and they can score at that speed. You've got to slow the game down and make them play half-court defense.

"I've been saying this throughout the tournament. Does anyone watch our conference games and see how they were defended?"