Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

NCAA Finals Preview

April 2, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Finals Preview

by Phil Kasiecki

Monday night’s national championship game is surely not one that many had in their brackets at the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. Many probably had Maryland getting this far, but few if any imagined that the Indiana Hoosiers would be playing on Monday night.

How did they get here?

Some will look at who the Hoosiers beat en route here and note that they benefited from upsets, as the Hoosiers beat three double-digit seeds to get this far. But the Hoosiers have shown that they can beat the best, as they upset Duke in the regional semifinal, then beat Oklahoma on Saturday. The Hoosiers have done it primarily with great shooting and good defense.

The Terrapins were expected to get here. They were the number one seed that faced the winner of the play-in game, and they have made it with big wins over Kentucky and Connecticut in the regional semifinals and finals, respectively, before nearly blowing a big lead in the semifinal against Kansas, just as they did last year in losing to Duke in the national semifinal.

The key individual matchup will be at the point, where the teams are fairly even on paper. Both teams don’t look to their point guards to score much, but how they run the team and defend the opposing point man can make the difference. Steve Blake has more big-game experience than Tom Coverdale, and has had his share of big games even against good point guards. He also has gotten into foul trouble on occasion as well, even though he can play very good defense. Coverdale is still nursing an ankle injury, which may appreciably affect his play.

For the Hoosiers, Jeffrey Newton will be the key player. He came through with the game of his life in the semifinal, and against the deep Maryland frontcourt, he will be needed again and especially if Jared Jeffries gets in foul trouble early, as he did against Oklahoma.

Also keep an eye on Donald Perry for the Hoosiers, as he has provided a big spark off the bench in both upsets. He gave them an immediate boost against Duke, then made big shots on Saturday against Oklahoma and filled in nicely for Tom Coverdale. With Coverdale still not 100% for the championship game, Perry will likely be counted on for production again. He may be the upstart freshman that comes through in the big game this time around.

For the Terrapins, Chris Wilcox continues to play well of late. He had a big game Saturday against Kansas, and will be a tough matchup on the post for anyone Indiana has including Jeffries. He has quick post moves, goes up strong, and runs the floor as well as any post player, enabling him to get fast break baskets.

Maryland will need Lonny Baxter to come through in this game. Dixon showed again that he can come up big, but after getting the East region MVP, Baxter did very little on Saturday with foul trouble. If he comes through as he is capable of, the Hoosiers could be in for a long night at the defensive end; otherwise, the Terrapins will need another big effort from others on the post.

The biggest key to this game is the tempo. While the Terrapins didn’t beat Kansas in a running game, they are capable of running and that is not the kind of game the Hoosiers excel at. The Hoosiers want to slow the pace down, and while the Terrapins can win games in the halfcourt, the Hoosiers have a better chance. If the game is played at a slow pace, the Terrapins have to get the ball inside, as they have a clear advantage there and it showed against Kansas.

Look for the Hoosiers to do what they did against Oklahoma – ball control, precision offense, and defensive emphasis. Maryland will look to do much of what they did against Kansas, notably, use their frontcourt depth and pound the ball inside. Another key will be the backcourt defense of Maryland – if they get into foul trouble, depth is a problem there and might hurt them. Another thing the Terrapins should do, but might not try, is something Oklahoma did not do – test Coverdale by guarding him full-court, instead of picking him up at mid-court.

Prediction: The Hoosiers have had a great run, knocking off two excellent teams along the way. But Maryland can run with them and play in the halfcourt set, and they have too much depth up front and experience, and that along with their drive to make up for last year should lead to their first national championship.

Prediction: Maryland 85, Indiana 72.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we break d own the national semifinals, where one game went back and forth while the other was never really a ballgame thanks to an impressive performance for the ages by the winning team.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.