With the Final Four in Glendale this weekend, Hurley shares his thoughts on the quartet of teams vying to cut down the nets Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. He joined Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat earlier this week.
Biggest surprise of the field? “Clearly, it’s got to be South Carolina. They’ve earned it. They’ve played some really good teams but they haven’t been a household name this year.
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) March 26, 2017
They’re a good team, but they’re not at a top-level. They’re really playing well at the right time and their coach Frank Martin has done a really good job of getting his team to defend and play hard at that end of the floor.”
What’s key for South Carolina to pull the upset over Gonzaga? “I think if you’re South Carolina you try to speed the game up, try to create a tempo for the game. That’s going to be an important key for them. It’s going to be a chess match there-who can control the pace of the game. Can South Carolina’s pressure affect Gonzaga?”
How do you see Oregon-North Carolina? “I think North Carolina is going to focus on throwing the ball inside, also. They’re deep on the front court with really good size and Oregon is going to look to probably attack more off the dribble.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 30, 2017
Jordan Bell is the guy who going to have to play the way he did against Kansas [in the Elite Eight], with his rebounding and shot blocking against that North Carolina front court.”
Are you surprised Oregon made it this far without their inside presence Chris Boucher? “I completely understand the impact Boucher has. He’s special with his shot blocking ability and his ability to stretch the court out with his three-point shot so losing a guy like that, it’s hard to replace. But they have enough good players, they have enough talent…I’m not surprised with where they are right now.”
Is it a big advantage for UNC that Roy Williams has coached in a handful of Final Fours? “All these coaches are very experienced and have coached in NCAA tournament, won games in the tournament. This will be their first Final Four experience but all of these coaches have done it at a very high level so I think that is a little overrated. I just think it’s about keeping their teams focused. There’s a lot going on here, there’s a lot of distractions. It’s an exciting environment. Get your team focused on winning a basketball game and not just being happy that you made it this far.”