The title speaks for itself…gross…
Who will be a better NBA player, Blake Griffin the OU Sooner or Tyler Hansbrough the Baby Blue Tar Heel? My answer is Griffin. And let me preface this post: my position is not a result of my hatred for Hansbrough and the Tar Heels. The Duke-Carolina rivalry aside, Griffin is much more athletic and an overall bigger powerhouse. Hansbrough is a real “creative” post player and finds ways, ugly or not, to get the ball in the hoop. As much as I hate to say it, Psycho T does it quite frequently, thus taking over the ACC All-Time Scoring Record previously held by my boy J.J. Redick. But honestly, can you see Hansbrough throwing up that trash in the NBA? The likes of Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’ Neal, and others will stuff it and probably throw it 12 rows deep and turn it into a souvenir.Griffin, however, can actually go coast-to-coast, with speed, and smash the ball through the hole overtop of multiple defenders. Both are great college players, but how does that translate into the NBA? Let’s compare the two by NBA potential in the skilled categories:
Strength – Advantage Griffin…Griffin is an absolute monster underneath the basket and has a great presence that keeps opponents out of the lane when they drive and is able to do whatever he wants on the Offensive end. If you watch him play, the whole game revolves around him. Why? Because no one else can physically stop him. Hansbrough is also a tough guy but does not seem as dominant in the post. He’s a scorer but doesn’t tend to throw people around in the paint.
Speed – Advantage Griffin…Hansbrough, though great in the post, struggles to outrun anyone down the court. He has great court presence and vision, but fails to physically beat defenders out on the break. Griffin, as we’ve seen at multiple times throughout the year, has stolen the ball underneath his own basket and left everyone in the dust on the way back down the court only to throw down a ridiculous dunk while defenders sit back and watch.
Dunking – Advantage Griffin…See above…Griffin is a man-child all by himself. In overall dunking ability, able to jump higher, Griffin is a great lob-catcher and more talented in the alley-oop department than Psycho T. Hansbrough is not nearly as explosive or fun to watch. Put the two in a dunk contest and Griffin wins hands down.
Post Play – Advantage Hansbrough…I definitely give the nod to Tyler here. Somehow, someway, Hansbrough finds ways to score against multiple defenders in the paint. Trust me, I know. I’m a Duke fan…he’s done it four years in a row, in Durham gosh dang it. It’s ugly, but it works. Griffin tends to be a better one-on-one player and because he’s a more skilled ball handler, tends not to go down and sit in the paint. However, because Hansbrough finds home underneath the basket, I’d take him over Griffin if you need a great post scorer. Yes, Tar Heel fans, I am applauding Hansbrough’s ability…though it sure isn’t pretty.
Ball Handling/Dribbling – Advantage Griffin…This definitely goes to Griffin. Without a doubt, Griffin would dribble around Hansbrough. Not to take anything away from Psycho T, but Griffin goes between the legs and around the back much better and on a more frequent basis to school defenders soon before posterizing them.
Defense – Advantage HansbroughIn the defensive block, Hansbrough has better court sense and the ability to take a charge. As dominant as Griffin is on the boards, he is all risk or all reward in trying to block shots. When’s the last time you saw him take a charge? When an opponent drives the lane, Hansbrough steps up and usually takes one for the team, risking his body to get a turnover and the ball back.
Rebounding – Advantage Griffin…Has anyone seen Griffin’s stats this year? I can’t even count the number of double-doubles that Griffin has had this year. Simply put, when you average over 20 points and close to 15 rebounds over the course of a season, you deserve Player of the Year honors. When the ball is up for grabs, count on Griffin to use his brute force to get the ball wrapped up securely in his arms for whatever NBA team is lucky enough to draft him.
One on One Ability – This is a wash, but are great in finding ways to score, no matter who’s guarding them.
Overall, Griffin has more talent and will likely find it easier to get playing time and make an immediate impact in the NBA. Hansbrough will likely be a 7th or 8th man and be a role player until he finds his way onto a team that needs a talented Small Forward. Both will be taken high in the NBA Draft, but look for Griffin, assuming he stays healthy, to be a better talent in the professional arena.
Want a look at Blake Griffin’s athleticism? Check out the video….see for yourself…
Courtesy of YouTube
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2009 NCAA Tournament South Region Bracket Seeding
1 – North Carolina, 2 – Oklahoma, 3 – Syracuse, 4 – Gonzaga
5 – Illinois, 6 – Arizona State, 7 – Clemson, 8 – LSU
9 – Butler, 10 – Michigan, 11 – Temple, 12 – W. Kentucky,
13 – Akron, 14 – Stephen F. Austin, 15 – Morgan State,
16 – Radford (LET’S GO! BEAT NORTH CAROLINA!!!!)
On the night of March 19th, these teams will begin their journey on their way to a potential National Championship run in Detroit on April 6th. Compared to the other regions in the tournament and the opportunity for the #1 seed (in this case, North Carolina) to make it to the Final Four, I rank the South Region as the 4th toughest bracket (the easiest) out of the field.
Egh, you mean I have to talk about North Carolina now? Dang it. I guess if I have to, I will…I just won’t like doing it. Depending on Ty Lawson’s foot, UNC should have a relatively easy cakewalk (which of course makes me upset) to the Elite 8 until they run into a stacked Oklahoma Sooner team led by potential NBA All-Star Blake Griffin. Without Lawson in the first round, I think UNC will struggle out of the blocks against Radford. Obviously, if UNC were to lose as a #1 seed against Radford (who, by the way, leads the country in STDs instead of scoring….well, ironically they could technically lead the nation in scoring…if you get my drift), I would be in all my glory. I wouldn’t care about what happened the rest of the tournament. Unfortunately, this only has a miracle’s chance of actually happening. The NCAA tourney committee says “Your Welcome” North Carolina. In the LSU-Butler matchup, this game comes down to size vs. shooting. If Butler plays it’s up and down the court game and shoots well from the floor, they will be able to overcome LSU’s size and pull out the victory. However, whoever wins this coin flip will likely get beaten up on my Carolina in the second round, assuming they have Ty Lawson back and healthy.
An always exciting matchup is the 5-12 game out of any region. In this case, it is no different. UPSET ALERT! UPSET ALERT! UPSET ALERT!Western Kentucky is willing and ready to play spoiler against Illinois. As the 12 seed, they are automatically considered dangerous. I like them a lot here. Go Toppers! They will likely play a very talented team from Gonzaga. However, in the Round of 32, I like Western Kentucky to pull another upset and knock out the ‘Zags, who are usually a tournament letdown. They usually have talent, but can’t hack it when tournament pressure arrives. Go Toppers once again! At the bottom of the South regional, I like Arizona State, Syracuse, and Oklahoma to take care of business with no problems. However, in the 7-10 matchup, I think Clemson will struggle with consistency (like usual as they are typically overrated) and lose to a red-hot, developing Michigan Wolverine squad. In the next round, I look for Oklahoma to again take care of Michigan with Blake Griffin absolutely dominating the glass on both ends of the floor and producing all kinds of numbers. I expect Syracuse to continue to play well, led by Jonny Flynn, and beat AZ State, but then succumb to size and fatigue against Oklahoma in the Sweet 16.
Back up at the top of the bracket, UNC will again play its game at run the Toppers ragged in the Sweet 16 and set up an intriguing matchup with Oklahoma in the Elite 8. At first glance, you would think that the Sooners don’t have enough firepower against the Heels, but you forget that Blake Griffin will likely be guarding Tyler Hansbrough. Advantage – Griffin. In a high-scoring battle, I like the Sooners to make the trip to Detroit and try to prove to the country that they belong among the nation’s elite. This bracket will not have as many upsets but will provide excitement with high-scoring affairs and fast-paced offenses. It will also feature two of the nation’s top players in Blake Griffin and Tyler Hansbrough. Try and keep up…..
Ok folks, get out your brackets…
2009 SOUTH REGION PREDICTIONS
Sleeper teams to win at least one game: Western Kentucky and Michigan
Most intriguing team to watch: Syracuse (can they recover from a brutal Big East tournament?)
Biggest regional upset: Western Kentucky to beat Gonzaga in the 2nd round after upsetting Illinois in the Round of 64
1st Round Winners: UNC, Butler, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Syracuse, Michigan, and Oklahoma
2nd Round Winners: UNC, Oklahoma, Western Kentucky, and Syracuse
South Region Sweet 16 Winners: UNC and Oklahoma
South Region Elite 8 Winner: Oklahoma Sooners
OUT OF THE SOUTH REGION, Oklahoma WILL REPRESENT THE FIELD IN DETROIT AT THE FINAL FOUR
Analysis and breakdown of the East Region coming soon….
I first want to say that any of you who know me knew this blog post was coming. UNC just beat Duke for the 2nd time this season 79-71 in Chapel Hill. I want to make a few things clear here. I hate North Carolina, can’t stand Tyler Hansbrough, and for all of you who complain about Coach K and Duke getting calls, you must’ve been in a stupor and forgot all about North Carolina. For those same people, did any of you watch the game today? UNC GOT EVERY SINGLE CALL!!! Normally, I’m not one to make excuses or blame the referees, but today was just mind-blowing. EVERY…SINGLE….TIME “Psycho Baby” Tyler Hansbrough touched the ball, Kyle Singler or Gerald Henderson, of course both of Duke’s most dynamic scorers, got charged with a ticky-tack foul. Ever since Mr. Overrated Tyler Hansbrough became a national phenomenon, he’s been catered to like he was the President. Whether he’s 20 feet or 2 feet away from the basket, any nudge, touch, or scrape is called a foul and he gets to shoot two. Of course he’s a great free throw shooter, he gets more opportunities than anyone!!! It’s so frustrating to have Duke claw back to within 2 or 3 points multiple times throughout the game, then a bogus, ghostly foul call sends Hansbrough to the line for free points. Everyone complains about Coach K getting calls, stop being ridiculous. Today was a perfect example of referees deciding the game. A 7 point margin of victory is the difference of 4 shooting fouls. Yes, I’m bitter about the defeat, but I’m also a realist. If Duke doesn’t play well, I admit it and chalk it up to the opponents’ defense. But today was not the case. Down the stretch, the story was simple: Carolina got the calls at the most critical times and duke was handicapped by poor officiating…enough said.
Hopefully third time’s a charm and Duke plays UNC next Sunday in the ACC championship, the Blue Devils walk away with the ACC crown, stick it to Hansbrough, and potentially earn a shot at a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It’s tough enough playing one of the best teams in the country, but it sure doesn’t help when you have 2 or 3 extra players, and by players I mean zebras (officials), giving your opponent a break at every opportunity….
To really decide who’s the best between North Carolina and Duke, let’s televise a no-holds barred , 8 man tag-team match at mid-court in Madison Square Garden for all the world to see:
At one corner…for Duke: Coach K, Gerald Henderson, Kyle Singler, and Lance Thomas
At the other corner…for Carolina: Roy Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, and Tyler Zeller
Advantage Duke….lights out North Carolina