The Achilles' Heel for Every Final Four Contender

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2013

The Achilles' Heel for Every Final Four Contender

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    Every college basketball team has weaknesses.

    In spite of their outstanding talent or incredible depth, even Final Four contenders have flaws that could lead to their demise.

    Here is the Achilles' heel of each of the top ten 2013 Final Four contenders.

    Let's go!

     

    Team stats and statistical rankings provided by Statsheet.com.

10. Louisville Cardinals: Three-Point Shooting Percentage

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    Louisville is not a good three-point shooting team (32.2 percent; No. 247 in the nation).

    Not one player is close to shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

    Even a prolific scorer like Russ Smith (pictured; 31.8 percent) has trouble hitting shots from downtown.

    If the Cardinals find themselves down big late in a March Madness game, it’s going to be next impossible for them to make a run using long-distance shooting. 

9. Michigan State Spartans: Three-Point Shooting

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    In an era where teams use frequent three-point shooting as a normal part of their offensive strategy, Michigan State pulls the trigger less than most teams in D-I hoops.

    The Spartans launch less than 15 shots from beyond the arc per game (No. 292 in the nation). Even Gary Harris (pictured), who shoots 43 percent from three, only takes four three-point field goals per game.

    Their three-point shooting percentage is not great either (34.7), but the fact that they don't shoot it very often could lead other teams to pack the lane and clog the middle, where Tom Izzo wants the Spartans to take most of their shots.

8. Florida Gators: Getting to the Line

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    Getting to the line and knocking down free throws is the most efficient way to score.

    For a team that's hooked on three-point shooting like Florida, taking the ball to the rim, getting fouled and getting to the line is an infrequent activity.

    The Gators have only gone to the line 408 times this entire season (16 times per game; No. 333 in the nation).

    Not only does Billy Donovan's squad not get the points from made free throws, but they also don't get their opponents in foul trouble very often.

7. Georgetown Hoyas: Lack of Offensive Rebounding

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    Georgetown moves the ball better than just about any other team in college basketball, but when it comes to crashing the offensive boards, John Thompson III's squad is lacking.

    The Hoyas only average 9.1 offensive rebounds per game (No. 291 in the nation).

    Otto Porter (pictured) is Georgetown's best offensive rebounder, and he doesn't grab even two per game.

    When the Hoyas' shooting touch goes south, they won't be getting many extra shot attempts.

6. Kansas Jayhawks: Lack of Frontcourt Depth

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    Jeff Withey and Kevin Young form Kansas' impressive frontcourt duo. 

    Together, they score over 20 points and grab nearly 16 boards per game.

    As long as they are on the court, the Jayhawks are fine.

    But, if either of them get in foul trouble or get hurt, Bill Self doesn't have proven frontcourt depth in which to turn.

    Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor may be future frontcourt stars, but right now they are erratic.

5. Miami Hurricanes: Free-Throw Accuracy

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    Miami, with the exception of its Wake Forest washout from this past Saturday, is playing exceptional basketball. 

    Leading the ACC is no small task, but that doesn't cancel the fact that the Hurricanes are not a good free-throw shooting team.

    On the season, the Canes are only connecting on 65.5 percent of their freebies (No. 281 in the nation).

    As the postseason draws near, the Canes' inability to make free throws could cost them an important game or could get them eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

4. Michigan Wolverines: Lack of Shot-Blocking

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    Michigan is a high-powered offensive team that can score with any team in the country.

    One of the Wolverines' weaknesses is interior defense, especially in terms of shot-blocking.

    John Beilein's bunch only swats 2.7 shots per game (No. 253 in the nation). Not a single player on the team averages one blocked shot per game.

    Because Michigan doesn't reject many shots, teams aren't afraid to go in the lane and take the ball to the rim. 

3. Duke Blue Devils: Over-Reliance on Three-Point Shooting

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    Is it possible that one of Duke's biggest strengths could turn into its biggest possible breakdown?

    The Blue Devils have several skilled three-point shooters, including Seth Curry (pictured), who leads the team with 69 threes.

    Over the last few seasons, Duke has, at times, settled for three-point shots. And in games when the long-distance shots aren't falling, anything can happen.

    A good example of this was the Blue Devils' disappointing loss to Lehigh in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament. In that upset, they were 6-for-26 from downtown.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs: Slow Pace of Game

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    Gonzaga is an interesting combination of great scoring ability and deliberate (code for "slow") pace.

    The Bulldogs average 65.8 possessions per game (No. 226 in the nation). Because they keep things under control, they commit fewer turnovers than most teams.

    What will happen if the Bulldogs meet up with a team that plays significantly faster?

    Will the Zags be just as effective and productive playing a more up-tempo pace?

    It is possible that if a team gets them in a track meet, like Illinois did earlier this season, the Bulldogs may not be able to hang with it.

1. Indiana Hoosiers: No Legit Backups for Cody Zeller

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    Indiana deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country. While the Hoosiers have been very successful at home at Assembly Hall, they are now winning the majority of their games on the road as well.

    Cody Zeller gets a ton of things done on the inside for the Hoosiers.

    He scores, defends, passes and rebounds at a very high level.

    And, if he went down to injury, Tom Crean has virtually no one who could come close to taking care of the heavy lifting like Zeller.

    Even Victor Oladipo going down to injury wouldn't have nearly the same devastating impact that losing the star center would have.

    "The Big Handsome" better stay healthy.