The 6-0 Villanova Wildcats take on the 7-0 Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis final, and there are several players that will dictate the outcome of this clash between two quality teams.
Villanova seemingly has the momentum heading into the game, as they had to get past No. 2 Kansas in the semifinal round. They were barely able to stave off Andrew Wiggins and Co., winning 63-59.
Iowa played UTEP in the semis, and they were able to rest some of their regulars once the game got out of hand. This makes them well-rested for the final against Villanova, but that doesn't always translate to an advantage.
This game will feature quality talent, and the key players on either side will be worth watching as they'll decide the outcome.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova
Junior JayVaughn Pinkston is Villanova's leading scorer, averaging 17.7 points per game as a result of his versatile style of play. He can play on the wing because of his athleticism, but he can also play inside because of his size. He stands 6'7"and weighs 240 pounds.
Some of the best players on Villanova are guards, making the play of a forward like Pinkston extremely important. Even if Nova's guards play well, the Wildcats won't be able to defeat No. 23 Iowa if they can't get some of their big guys going.
Pinkston is an aggressive scorer that loves to play above the rim and finish in the paint. He's a tough player that can fight on the glass and bring down rebounds, something that bodes well for an offense run by mostly guards. Pulling down offensive boards gives himself and his teammates plenty of second-chance opportunities.
His play in this one will directly influence how Nova fares.
Roy Devyn Marble, Iowa
Senior guard Roy Devyn Marble leads the charge for the Hawkeyes, and he has put together a solid line through seven games this season. He is averaging 15.7 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
He is able to score in many different ways and is a catalyst on offense for Iowa. That being said, he can also be a hindrance to the Hawkeyes' offense. He doesn't shoot a high percentage from the floor (just 40.7 percent on the season), and his shot selection can be a major downfall in this one.
He only shoots 29.4 percent from three as well, and it'll be his ability to knock down open looks that influences how much the offense runs through him. He'll be given plenty of opportunities early on, but expect head coach Fran McCaffery to adjust the game plan after the first half if Marble starts off slow.
Aaron White, Iowa
Aaron White loves to run the floor and loves to finish above the rim. He's Iowa's second-leading scorer and arguably their top playmaker. If nothing else, he's always good for a highlight or two.
Unlike Marble, White is extraordinarily efficient from the floor. He is shooting 64 percent from the floor because of his tendency to take high percentage shots around the rim. From the free-throw line, White is also very reliable. He converts on 83.8 percent of his tries from the charity stripe.
White only plays 23 minutes per game, but I wouldn't be surprised if he plays north of that against Villanova. He is too efficient from the floor, and too explosive of a player to leave on the bench if the game is close. Marble may be the catalyst, but White is arguably the more reliable player for the Hawkeyes.
If he can get going early on in the paint, expect Iowa to keep feeding him inside. I expect him to have a big game against the Wildcats.