- Jay Bilas, College Basketball analyst
Each team in the Final Four has a legitimate shot to win this thing, and we could have one of the great Final Fours of the past decade or so.
UCLA: Of the Final Four teams, UCLA is the best defensive team. The Bruins are versatile, trap or hedge hard on screens and aggressively double-team the post and rotate effectively. Ben Howland first began doubling in the post when he was at Pittsburgh and went against Troy Murphy, and now says he regrets not doing it earlier in his career. Darren Collison puts the best pressure on the ball of any defender in the country and passed Tyus Edney for third in UCLA single-season steals. Arron Afflalo, UCLA's best all-around defensive player, is as strong and tough a perimeter defender as there is in the Pac-10, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata are outstanding help-side and post defenders. UCLA's defense will give the Bruins a great chance to beat anyone.
The only thing that can stop UCLA is its offense. UCLA runs great sets and has a great push game in transition, but UCLA is heavily reliant on perimeter players Collison, Afflalo and Josh Shipp. The Bruins can score, but are not a great offensive team. When one of the big three on the perimeter has struggled, as Collison did against Washington and Afflalo did against Cal, the Bruins can be had. What UCLA has going in its favor is that its perimeter rarely struggles in big games. Against ranked teams, UCLA was 11-1 this season, with the only loss coming against Oregon. The Bruins' experience and toughness give them a really good shot to make the title game.
6dAndy Katz and David Purdum
5dESPN The Magazine