SAN ANTONIO | No coach in America is better qualified to evaluate tonight’s national championship than Texas Coach Rick Barnes.
The Longhorns defeated Kansas during the regular season then lost to the Jayhawks 84-74 in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament. Two weeks later, Texas fell to Memphis in the title game of the South Regional.
Barnes wouldn’t pick a winner, but here is his take on the game:
“I said going into the tournament that Kansas was the best team we played all year but after I shook John Calipari’s hand I told him, ‘You’re the best team we played.’”
“The pick and roll will be interesting. Memphis won’t be able to do what they’ve done against us. Kansas is too good defensively.
“I really think who ever gets inside play will win the game because both teams are going to guard each other on the perimeter. I think that it’s going to get down to who gets those 50-50 balls. It’s going to come down to offensive boards. Who wants those? They’re going to guard each other so well, people are going to have to make plays.
“Turnovers are going to be huge. Both teams are absolutely great at turning turnovers into quick baskets.
“Where Memphis has impressed me is their shot blocking. They’re challenging everything. And they turn them around real quick because sometimes Dorsey doesn’t come down the floor, and they throw it down to him.
“Memphis is long, man. It will be interesting if their length bothers Kansas.
“People talk about who Kansas is going to guard. I think it’s more interesting the other way. How is Memphis going to match up against Kansas. Look at what we did. We had D.J. (Augustin) guarding Robinson. We put (Justin) Mason on Chalmers and we put A.J. (Abrams) on Rush. What are we saying? We’re more concerned about Chalmers. Rush has troubling going down low.
“The one thing Memphis has done in this tournament is they figured out if they keep the ball in the hands of Rose and Douglas-Roberts we’re going to shoot a high free throw percentage. They have right guys taking the shot (In the tournament, Rose and Douglas-Roberts are a combined 79 percent from the line and rest of the team shoots 52 percent)