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A.J. Price
A.J. Price's crossover followed by a stutter step has left many defenders lagging behind him.
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For insight into Thursday's regional semifinal games, we tracked down actual scouting-report info from assistant coaches of former opponents, and gave them anonymity in exchange for their candor. You're sick of what the media has to say about these teams by now, so listen to our corps of coaches instead:

WEST REGION (Glendale, Ariz.)

Click here for the East Region breakdown

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 5 Purdue, 7:07 p.m. ET

Four Huskies scouting points:

• "A.J. Price has a really nice pace to his game, in that he's an explosive guard who's good at changing speeds. Defenders need to know that he has both crossovers -- some guys only go one direction, but he goes right-to-left and left-to-right, with kind of a stutter step, and they're both deadly. You've seen what he did to [Jerel] McNeal from Marquette. He uses that a lot to create space for pull-up jumpers."

• "We had a crazy stat on Hasheem Thabeet -- that just more than 90 percent of his made field goals in Big East games were dunks. His whole game is really deep low-post, rebounding, or driving to the basket off of screens."

• "There are two ways to try to limit Thabeet's defensive impact -- by pulling him away from the basket and making him show on ball-screens, and by having your post players go right into his body rather than shooting over him. He's foul-prone if you go at his chin and draw contact."

• "Stanley Robinson is still acclimating himself to playing the wing, but he's got a good up-fake out there. I just don't know why teams go for it. He's not a good three-point shooter; he's more of a driver who likes to take a couple of dribbles and pull up."

Four Boilermakers scouting points:

• "E'Twaun Moore is their most talented player, but Robbie Hummel is the most important one. If he'd been healthy all season, I think they'd have given Michigan State all they could handle for the Big Ten title. Even with Hummel at 85 percent in the [NCAA] tournament, though [he's dealing with a back injury], he can make an impact, because he creates matchup problems by stretching your defense and making your four-man guard on the perimeter. He also seems to get his hands on more loose balls and offensive boards than anyone I've seen in a long time."

• "Lewis Jackson sets the tone for them defensively, because he picks up your point guard for 94 feet and makes him work for 40 minutes. On offense he's their fourth or fifth option, though, so we felt like we could help off of him once he gave up the ball."

• "They're such a great help-defense team that if you initially beat anyone off the dribble, three or four guys rotate over to stop you from scoring. If you can drive and kick, though, you're going to get open looks on the perimeter. If they're close enough to close out hard on your shooters -- and they're good at that -- that's when you can penetrate by them."

• "You have to get physical with [center] JaJuan Johnson. He doesn't look like he weighs more than 200 pounds, but he's really active, and he'll try to range out and shoot from 17 feet, or put the ball on the floor and drive past your big guys. In the post, his main move is sort of an awkward turnaround jumper over either shoulder."'s pick: UConn 74, Purdue 68.
The Boilermakers have gone on a late-season surge, winning their past five games, but they just don't have enough of an inside presence to combat Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet and Stanley Robinson. The Huskies will win this one by dominating the glass.

No. 2 Memphis vs. No. 3 Missouri, 9:37 p.m. ET

Four Memphis scouting points:

• "The more you can control their penetration [in the Dribble Drive Motion] without helping, the better, because it goes hand-in-hand with rebounding. Memphis uses its size, athleticism and length to crash the offensive boards hard, and if your big men are helping off on penetrators, the Tigers will get a lot of offensive rebounds."

• "Tyreke Evans is a physical guard who's always looking to go all the way in transition, and he likes to use a right-to-left crossover move. He's a capable three-point shooter but wants to get into the paint; he's also liable to post up a guard after he kicks the ball out. He's turnover prone, though -- he has as many of those as he does assists."

• "They'll use full-court, man-to-man pressure after made field goals, free throws and dead balls. If you use your post to inbound it, they'll use his man to deny your point guard the ball, or trap him immediately once he receives it. Their main goal is to get the ball out of your point guard's hands."

• "Robert Dozier is a big guy who can make threes when he's trailing a play or sliding off of a ball-screen. He also likes to drive from the perimeter and shoot a right-handed jump hook in the lane; he does the same hook in the post and uses a dribble to set it up."

Four Missouri scouting points:

• "One big thing they do in transition, and this is kind of rare, is rather than outlet-passing to a guard, DeMarre Carroll will rebound it and go, or they'll look to get him the ball early. This gets you all out of whack, because if your big guys don't sprint back in time, you have to stop Carroll with a guard, and then you've got guards on big guys, and big guys on guards, and all kinds of matchup problems."

• "They have three or four different presses. The first one is the full-court 1-2-1-1, where they trap the first pass, then shoot the gaps and really gamble for steals. You have to throw over the top of it, and then attack at once, because you'll have opportunities to score. Miss a shot, though, and Missouri will be running back up your tail and scoring on you."

• "They also have a 2-2-1, three-quarter-court press that traps right before half court, or right after half court, and another press that's strictly a run-and-jump, where everyone guards their man, and then all of a sudden someone leaves and runs at the ball, and everyone else shoots gaps. Basically, all of these things are going to keep you from having an offensive flow. You're not going to get into any type of rhythm in the half court; you just have to make basketball plays."

• "J.T. Tiller [who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year] is relentless on both ends of the floor, and in unbelievable condition. He'll guard full-court, push the ball in transition and never get winded. He just doesn't ever wear down."'s pick: Memphis 81, Missouri 80.
This one is not going to be easy for the Memphians, because they haven't played a team this defensively disruptive all season. But if the game comes down to "making basketball plays," as our assistant said, then Evans and Antonio Anderson should have big games, because they're both aggressive and confident in the open court.

Click here for the East Region breakdown


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