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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Final Four's Biggest Loser

I know I don't do sports often on here, but I do occasionally cover them. I've watched a lot of the NCAA tournament the last few weeks, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. College basketball, and Women's College Basketball are the two best forms of the game out there.

Last night though, I saw the guy destined to be the biggest loser in the Final Four, even though his team won. That guy would be Greg Oden of Ohio State. For the first time in his career he played against a center that was not only taller than him, but more athletic, and it showed.

For weeks Oden has been praised as the "Next Big Thing" in college basketball. But he was playing against teams without a decent center. Wisconsin was the closest to have one, but Brian Butch went down in the first meeting, and didn't play in the second. Had he been able to go the whole way both games Oden may have been exposed as 'not ready for prime time' earlier by playing a guy that would force him away from the basket on defense.

What Roy Hibbert of Georgetown showed last night, even though both were limited in minutes by fouls, was that Oden has limited defensive chops, and struggles offensively against bodies that are as big as him. He hasn't developed a move to the basket when he's got the ball but not position.

Yes, when he can stand in the box and shoot from five feet and in he's awesome, but make him try and move to that spot against a body, and he's disappears. Defensively his feet were always a step slower than Hibbert, or the guy cutting to the basket when Hibbert pulled him away. In the NBA that equates to fouling out a lot, as the players are a lot faster there than they are in college.

After watching that game, I think that Kevin Durant of Texas' stock in the draft just jumped up should he go pro, and Oden dropped a few spots in the first round. He'll still get millions, but not as many as he would have last week.

Here's my advice (to both of them) play another couple of years of college ball where the coaching is better, and the pressure is lower. When you go to the NBA as a lottery pick, then you'll find out what pressure is. Ask Andrew Bogut, who averages 13 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists a night and is considered a bust, and possible trade bait after two seasons.

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