NCAA Final Four: Memphis Throttles UCLA

Andrew TongeAnalyst IIApril 5, 2008

UCLA came into the Final Four looking to win an NCAA championship after failing to do so the previous 2 years.  This was the worst possible match up for them.  They had no answers as Memphis had their way with them 78 - 63.

Chris Douglas Roberts was a match-up nightmare for the UCLA guards as he beat them off the dribble and shot over them all game long to the tune of 28 points.  Derrick Rose did plenty of damage as well (25 points) as he kept the pace of the game at Memphis speed and got to the rim at will.  Rose was a human highlight film as once again, he out-shined the opposing teams’ best guards. 

When UCLA missed, Memphis was off to the races and there was little UCLA could do to defend.  Darren Collison continued his inconsistency and played timidly on the offensive end.  On defense he couldn’t guard Rose or Roberts.

Kevin Love did his best, but wore down in the second half and finished with 12 points.  His teammates didn’t get him the ball in the second half when the outcome was still in doubt, and he had nothing left in the last 4 minutes. 

Russell Westbrook was the only Bruin that looked comfortable playing at Memphis’ pace.  He finished with 22 points and kept them in the game.  Joey Dorsey focused on the boards and was key as he had 15 rebounds and worked hard on Love all game.

Shawn Taggart contributed off the bench for the Tigers as well.  Josh Shipp had a good start for UCLA, but disappeared for most of the game and wasn’t a factor.

This was a predictable outcome.  You really don’t get a good idea of how fast Memphis plays and how good Derrick Rose is until you play against them.  Antonio Anderson, Roberts and Rose over-matched Collison, Shipp and Westbrook in the open court. 

The Tigers found the match-up they wanted and played the isolation game.  In transition, they had no problems finishing.  When things broke down in the half-court offense, they just beat their man off the dribble.   

Three Final Four finishes in a row is a good result for UCLA.  They were beaten by a better team.

The question is, will Kansas, winners over North Carolina, be able to slow down Memphis and exploit any weakness in their defense.  The Jayhawks capitalized on their size and speed advantage against the Tarheels.  If they can bottle up Rose, they deserve to win.  He is the key to Memphis’ team.

I don’t think they will be able to do it for a whole game.  Memphis wins this game and the national championship.

I don’t understand how Rose is only a 3rd team All American when he is obviously the best point guard in the country.  He is what Memphis was missing the last couple of years.  Rose sets the pace, scores at will in transition and in the half court sets, rebounds the ball, and raises his teammates’ level of play.