Louisville vs. Wichita State: Position-by-Position Breakdown of Final Four Game
Any team that makes it to the NCAA Final Four has a chance of claiming the title.
When the Shockers and Cardinals do battle on Saturday, the individual matchups will be decide this game. Let's take a lightning-fast look at the position-by-position breakdowns of the first national semifinal game.
Point Guards: Peyton Siva vs. Malcolm Armstead
Armstead is on a March Madness roll, averaging 15.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
If the Shockers point guard can withstand Siva’s severe on-ball pressure, Wichita State will be one step closer to shocking the world.
Shooting Guards: Russ Smith vs. Tekele Cotton
Russ Smith, the Cardinals' combustible shooting guard, is so hot that it wouldn’t be surprising if he literally burst into flames in the Georgia Dome this weekend.
In Louisville’s four tournament games, Smith has been nearly unstoppable on the offensive end, averaging 26 points per game.
Tekele Cotton has the unenviable task of staying in front of Smith and slowing him down. If Cotton is ineffective, it could be a long night for Wichita State.
Small Forwards: Wayne Blackshear vs. Ron Baker
Truth be told, both of these players are the third guards on the floor for their respective teams.
Redshirt freshman Ron Baker is a critical part of the Wichita State offense. Against Gonzaga, Baker went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. When the 6’3" wing is on, it opens things up in the paint for the rest of the Shockers.
For Louisville, Wayne Blackshear will have to play a bigger role after Kevin Ware’s tragic injury.
Neither Baker nor Blackshear is likely to lead their respective team in scoring on Saturday, but both have the potential to go off on a game-breaking run.
Power Forwards: Chane Behanan vs. Cleanthony Early
It is just a matter of time before Chane Behanan goes off. He’s had a modest tournament, averaging only seven points and four rebounds per game, but could go off and a dominate the post at a moment's notice.
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State’s leading scorer, is the Shockers’ best option to catch fire in the Georgia Dome.
While Early may give up some bulk to Behanan, he will use his quickness and his ability to step out beyond the arc to cause a matchup dilemma for Louisville’s Rick Pitino.
Centers: Gorgui Dieng vs. Carl Hall
With the ability knock down mid-range jumpers, Hall could force Dieng to move away from the front of the rim, where he loves to terrorize opponents.
Dieng is having a tremendous tournament, shooting 20-of-24 from the floor, and will continue looking for high-percentage shots in this matchup.