Following is an analysis of the four teams competing for the NCAA basketball championship, starting Saturday in Atlanta.
Before this crazy basketball season began, either Michigan or Marquette was farvored in most quarters to win the national title. Now everyone seems to be wondering how on earth did the Warriors get this far?
Answer: By playing the last three weeks of the season like Al McGuire wanted from the start. That means a slow-paced, patient offense, with Butch Lee and Bo Ellis taking most of the shots, and an aggressive, relentless defense, where all the Warriors participate.
Much has been made about this being McGuire's final tournament and the effect it will have on his team. But the Warriors characteristically have been an emotional bunch and his last hurrah shouldn't have that much effect. Most important, probably, will be the play of reserve Bernard Toone.
Starters' scoring rebounding averages: guards Butch Lee, senior, 6-1, 180 (19.9, 3.8), and Jim Boylan, junior, 6-2, 175 (6.8, 2.7); center Jerome Whitehead, Junior, 6-10, 215 (10.2, 7.8); forwards Bo Ellis, senior, 6-9, 195 (16, 8.4) and Bill neary, senior, 6-5, 185 (1.8, 2.9).
Top reserve: Gary Rosenberger junior, 6-0, 155 (7.5, 1.4); Bernard Toone, sophomore, 6-9, 210 (4.3, 2.3); Jim Dudley, sophomore, 6-6, 190 (1.5, 1.7).
Offense: pattern cutting game (71 points a game, 47 per cent shooting).
Defense: man-to-man, some zone (50 points a game, opponents shoot 43 per cent).
Key points to watch: McGuira lets go one-on-one more than any of his previous players, but sometimes Lee's individual efforts distracts from team play. Marquette does not like to run and, if the Warriors fall behind against NCAA, they might have problems catching up. NORTH CAROLINA CHARLOTTE
Ask any well-respected college coach about zone defenses and he'll tell you that you can't win a national championship playing one. John Wooden hated zones so much he refused to teach them, a principle followed by Indiana's Bobby Knight today.
Yet UNCC's Bob Rose thinks he can take a national championship with his well-conceived zone. It helps that four of his starters have had three seasons to learn the zone's intracies.
UNCC also helles another accepted basketball adage: relatively unknown schools must be a bunch of run-and-gun renagades. The 49ers are an intelligent, well-coached team that has spent the last two seasons proving in year-end tournaments that the big name schools aren't the only ones with talent.
Staters' scoring, rebounding: guards Chad Kinch, freshman, 6-4; 186 (15.2, 3.4), and Melvin Watkins, senior, 6-4, 205 (10.8, 3.8); center Cedric Maxwell, senior, 6-8, 202 (22.1, 12.0); forwards Kevin King, sophomore, 5-7, 200 (11.6, 5.1); and Lew Massey, junior, 6-4, 202 (19.8, 6.7).
Top Reserves: Jeff Gruber, junior, 6-0, 155 (5.8, 0.9), Phil Scott, freshman, 6-6 170 (3.2, 2.8), Mike Hester, freshman, 6-7, 190 (3.2, 2.1).
Offense: Fast break (88 points a game, 52 per cent shooting).
Defense: zone (72 points a game, opponents shoot 44 per cent).
Key points to watch: UNCC's zone is designed to make opponents shoot from the outside. Marquette prefers to work the ball inside to Bo Ellis. If the 48ers can make Marquette fire up from the perimeter, and then gets its running game going, they will have a fine chance of advancing to the final. NORTH CAROLINA 27-4
Carolina should have lost to Virginia in the ACC final and did't; likewise the Tar Heels could have easily stumbled in either game of the East Regional at College Park. Somehow, a combination of coaching savvy, good shooting and teamwork has keep them from being eliminated.
They'll need every one of those elements of contend with the run-and-gun Las Vegas outfit. But the Tar Heels are running on momentum now, gained through the confidence of knowing they can win without Tom LaGarde.
Starters' scoring rebluding averages guards Phil Ford, junior, 6-2, 171 (19.3, 1.8), and John Knester, senior, 6-3, 174 (9.9, 2.2); center Rich Yonakor, freshman, 6-9, 205 (3.3, 2.2); forwards Walter avis, senior, 6-6, 190 (15.3, 5.7), and Mike O'Koren, freshman, 6-7, 198 (13.3, 6.4).
Top reserves: Tom Zaliagiris, junior, 6-5, 190 (3.9, 1.7); Jeff Wolf, freshman, 610, 205 (1.8, 1.4); Dudley Bradley, sophomore, 6-5, 190 (1.1, 1.2), Bruce Buckley, senior, 6-9, 210 (2.9, 2.4), Steve Krafcisin, freshman, 6-9, 219 (3.0, 1.5).
Offense: passing game, controlled fast break (84 points a game, shoots 53 per cent shooting).
Defense: mulitple with man-to-man emphasis (72 points a game, opponents shoot 47 per cent).
Key poits to watch: Carolina must get off to a fast start, much as it did against Kentucky, so Smith can go to his four-corner offense early in the second half. If he can't use the four corner, it will be hard for the Tar Heels to keep up physically with the eight-deep Vegas team. NEVADA LAS VEGAS (28.2)
San Francisco coach Bob Gaillard says Les Vegas is the only good basketball team in the country "that can make up or lose a 25-point lead in a half. They are that inconsistent."
But that is the penalty you pay for shooting quickly and hardly worrying about high percentage shots. However, critics overlook the fact that Jerry Tarkanian has his team in magnificient condition, so it is able to keep coming at opponents for 40 minutes.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] gainst most teams, such pressure uusally causes breakdowns.
Starters: Guards Robert Smith, senior, 5-11, 165 (13.0, 2.6), and Glen Gondrezick, junior, 6-9, 204 (7.7, 9.3), forwards Eddie Owens, senior, 6-7, 210 (21.7, 5.6), and Sam Smith, senior, 6-4, 201 (14.8, 3.0).
Top reserves: Lewis Brown senior 6-11, 235 (10.7, 8.5), Reggie Theua Smith, sophomore, 6-1, 166 (9.1, 1.4).
Offense: run-and-gun (107.9 points a game, 49 per cent shooting).
Defense: man-to-man, full-court press (87 points a game, opponents shoot 47 per cent).
Key points to watch: Las Vegas can score in incredible spurts one half, then turn cold the next. The Rebels prefer to run at an ultrafast tempe, if made to set up their offense, they often lapse into one-on-one play that ususally results in bad shots. Key most times to getting their offense rolling is how well they play defense.