Thursday, April 02, 2009

Final Four: Villanova/North Carolina Preview, Part 3 - Comparing The Teams' Rotation/Depth

To the Villanova Wildcats faithful-

Before I get started on the Tar Heels' key players, I've already posted a great deal of content on Villanova/North Carolina, and so here's a concise collection of the links thus far (and there will be more...) Enjoy...
  1. I look back at the 1985 Villanova/Georgetown national championship game, 24 years later...
  2. Villanova/North Carolina Rivalry History - how the Wildcats upset the Tar Heels in the 1985 Elite Eight, en route to that national championship...
  3. Everyone wants to know about Jay Wright's "lucky pigs", which have been instrumental in getting the Wildcats to the Final Four - Wright himself has kidded that "Those Pigs Are Important to Our Team's Success"...
  4. Looking back at the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16, which was the last time Villanova and North Carolina battled in the tournament - what has become known in Villanova lore as the "Allan Ray Travel Game"....
  5. Villanova/North Carolina Rivalry History - How Michael Jordan stopped Villanova in the 1982 tournament and the Wildcats' upset of the Tar Heels in the regular season, the following year...
  6. Villanova/North Carolina Rivalry History - The first three meetings, prior to the 1982 tournament...
  7. My initial post that the Wildcats would face North Carolina in the national semifinal...
  8. The first part of the preview - Final Four: Villanova/North Carolina Preview, Part 1 - UNC's Road to Detroit...
  9. Part 2 of the preview - the UNC starters....

Part 3 - Final Four: Villanova/North Carolina Preview - North Carolina Tar Heels Reserves

The Wildcats have a fairly deep rotation, with eight players who regularly see action and can be considered battle-tested (this list is not in order of importance):
  1. Scottie Reynolds
  2. Corey Stokes
  3. Corey Fisher
  4. Dante Cunningham
  5. Shane Clark
  6. Dwayne Anderson
  7. Reggie Redding
  8. Antonio Pena
That's actually a very high number. Even the clear eighth man, Pena, has started earlier in his career and has demonstrated that he can even score if necessary. It's hard to tell if the Tar Heels have a clear advantage off the bench, since although Roy Williams uses more players, they have many lopsided wins in which more players see action.

In what is potentially an ominous sign for the Wildcats, the Tar Heels have crushed all four of their NCAA tournament opponents, making it difficult to determine which players would have seen action, if the games had been close. I looked at the ACC tournament games, which were closer, but due to the minutes being spread out so much, it was difficult to draw any clear conclusion. But that having been said-

Here's a look at the four most important Tar Heels off the bench, three of whom are McDonald's All-Americans:

Ed Davis - #32 - 6/10 - Freshman - Forward

Davis, a McDonald's All-American, who scores 8.4 points/game and pulls down 6.8 rebounds/game, leads the team in blocks and is the main frontcourt reserve.

Bobby Frasor - #4 - 6/3 - Senior - Point Guard

Frasor, who started at the point as a freshman and was named to the All-ACC rookie team, had logged 38 starts entering this season. However, he suffered a serious knee injury in late December last season. As a battle-tested point guard, he is a good option for Roy Williams should Ty Lawson suffer another injury or sink into foul trouble.

Larry Drew II - #11 - 6/1 - Freshman - Guard

Drew, also a McDonald's All-American, averages 9.8 minutes, 1.5 points, and 2.0 assists a contest. With two point guards having potential injury problems, the freshman is yet another option for Williams in the backcourt.

Tyler Zeller - #44 - 7/0 - Freshman - Forward

Zeller - yet another McDonald's All-American, has appeared in only nine games this season, but has seen action in the NCAA tournament and provides another big man off the bench for Williams - something unavailable to Jay Wright.

You can also take a look at the other Villanova blogs included in Various Viewpoints on the right sidebar, for their takes...

Go Wildcats!
Beat North Carolina!

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