The most glaring weakness of every Final Four team
As we head to the Final Four, much has been made about the strengths of the teams that have made it this far, and for good reason. Gonzaga, UCLA, Baylor, and Houston have had terrific runs through their respective regions, and their fanbases have reason to be excited heading into the national semifinals.
However, this begs the question: What weaknesses could potentially trip each team up on the big stage? Let's take a closer look!
Gonzaga: Can the Bulldogs’ defense overcome a poor shooting night?
Look, I’m admittedly reaching a little bit here because, so far, Gonzaga has looked as impressive as any college basketball team in recent memory. They’ve been favored to cut down the nets for months, and for good reason.
Another look at this amazing Jalen Suggs block!@ZagMBB pic.twitter.com/8C2BNJvsRG— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) December 19, 2020
If we’re going to poke holes, it’s that their run through the tournament has yet to come up against an elite defensive team. If UCLA is able to control the game and contain the Zags’ potent offensive attack, it’ll be the first time all year that the Bulldogs will have to primarily rely on a defense that hasn’t really been tested yet.
UCLA: Do the Bruins have enough frontcourt depth?
Much has been made of UCLA’s backcourt, and that’s logical. Johnny Juzang has been one of the best players in the tournament, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell have helped will the Bruins to one upset win after another.
But what about the frontcourt? No forward on UCLA’s roster averages more than 5.5 rebounds per contest. If the Bruins’ red-hot shooters suddenly go cold, and the team is limited to one shot each possession, it could spell disaster.
Baylor: What if the Bears go cold from deep?
In the Sweet 16, Villanova may have taught opposing teams how to have their best chances against the Bears. The Wildcats led by six early in the second half, largely due to Baylor not getting anything to fall from three-point range. Baylor grinned out an 11-point win, but most of that was because Villanova wasn’t exactly lighting it up, either.
No. 5 Villanova has a seven-point lead over No. 1 Baylor at halftime.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) March 27, 2021
Villanova is 15-0 when leading at halftime this season... #MarchMadness
Houston is capable of playing lockdown defense. None of their four tournament opponents have scored more than 61 points against the Cougars, who most notably put on a clinic in limiting Syracuse to just 46 points in the Sweet 16.
Houston: Can the Cougars' offense keep up with high-octane opponents?
Houston’s defense has imposed its will on opponents for the entire tournament. Some of their wins haven’t been pretty, most notably their second-round scare against Rutgers, where the Cougars needed a 14-2 run to end the game in order to advance beyond the first weekend.
That defense will need to be at its best against Baylor, a squad that always seems one run away from blowing a team out of the gym. If the Cougars pull a Villanova, only for 40 minutes, they’ve got a big chance at playing for a national title. If Baylor gets hot, however, the Houston offense will need to kick into a gear they haven’t hit during the postseason.