For insight into Friday'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:
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SOUTH REGION (Memphis)
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Syracuse, 7:27 p.m. ET
Sooners scouting points:
• "On offense, Blake Griffin likes to spin baseline as much as he possibly can. He does a great job when he's double-teamed or dribbling out into space, to get the post who came over to double-team to release, and then once that big releases, Blake squares up and attacks the post who's guarding him one-on-one."
• "One play they constantly run for Willie Warren is a back-screen/ball-screen action where he'll be on the left side of the floor, and after the big sets a back-screen, he moves into a ball-screen that allows Willie to drive right -- he's more aggressive going right -- and gives him freedom to make a play. If you give him space on the screen he can pull up and shoot a three, too. He's the one guy on the team that will take threes off the dribble."
• "An overwhelming majority of the threes they take come off of inside-out passes from Blake Griffin. When Tony Crocker can hop into his shot, like he does when they go inside-out, he's an effective long-range guy. But if he has to get into his shot quickly and can't hop, he's not nearly as effective."
• "The weakest part of their defense is Blake Griffin, just because he does not want to foul. He's good at rotating over to block shots, but you have to force him to defend, by feeding the post and challenging him, or making him show on screens. You'll notice a big difference in how he plays after he picks up a foul or two, because he knows they need him to stay on the floor."
Orange scouting points:
• "I think Syracuse would rather you just hurry up and score so they can hurry up and score, too. The Orange just want as many possessions as they can get. They aren't great defensively; because they're physical and athletic they can cause some problems, but they don't get up after you and guard. They're just kind of there. If you combine ball movement with penetration you can score on them."
• "Jonny Flynn is one of the top three point guards in the country, because he's so fast and he handles it so well. He favors driving right to finish. The key for us was, when he goes right, more times than not, he's looking to get to the rim. When he does go left, he tends to stop and shoot a pull-up or try to pass."
• "Eric Devendorf has a rep for talking -- and he does talk the whole game -- but our guys said that Flynn talks just as much. He kind of does it while he's having fun, but he's got that New York thing where he's gonna let you know that your defense can't stop him. He'd even turn and talk to our bench about the guys on the floor."
• "Arinze Onuaku doesn't do any scoring beyond six feet, but he ducks in the lane really hard and gets great low-post position. He's really good at shooting a little jump hook over his left shoulder with his right hand. He'll also sit on the weak side and get plenty of dunks off of Flynn's penetration."
SI.com's pick: Syracuse 84, Oklahoma 77.
Flynn and Devendorf will combine for 45 points and get the Orange into the Elite Eight, setting up the potential Big East domination scenario, in which all four Final Four teams come from the same league.
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Gonzaga, 9:57 p.m. ET
Tar Heels scouting points:
• "No one brings up the ball as fast as Ty Lawson does. Even on makes, you score and he's literally driving it right up your back, using the big guys as blocking dummies, weaving his way to the rim. And he's always trying to get back to his right hand, because that's where he can shoot it from if he gets in the paint."
• "Lawson will get a lot of shots for Wayne Ellington on handbacks -- by driving hard downcourt, toward Ellington in one corner, then allowing Ellington to slip behind him, receive a handoff and hit a three. That happens a lot in transition -- this is why it's so important to corral Lawson with an extra defender, usually a big guy, because your point guard can't do it all by himself."
• "The most important thing with Danny Green, even though he can score in bunches with his shot, is to block him out. He's the best offensive rebounding wing in the ACC, and will crash the glass while everyone's tangled up with Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson inside."
• "Hansbrough is a relentless runner. He beats everyone down the court in transition; we showed our guys clip after clip of him sprinting to be the first guy down the court. Beyond that bread-and-butter move in the post -- the one-hander over the left shoulder -- he's very good at facing up, shot faking and driving right. And he's also going to get 10 extra points a game from the free-throw line."
Bulldogs scouting points:
• "Matt Bouldin is the key to the team. He's so versatile, and it's amazing what he does in the half court. He has one major tendency: If he dribbles between his legs, he's going to attack to score, or pull up. We told our guys, when you see that dribble, be ready. He also uses a lot of jab steps and spins in the lane on drives. In their motion offense he's always moving, and we didn't want our guys helping off of him at all, even if Jeremy Pargo was driving into the paint."
• "I've never seen a team punish you for taking bad shots or turning it over like Gonzaga does. Pargo is a Baron Davis-type of point guard because he's so big and strong, and he pushes it as deep in transition as he can go. He usually likes to go left. It takes a whole team to guard him."
• "It'll be interesting to see how [Josh] Heytvelt is able to stop Hansbrough, because I don't think Heytvelt is a great defender. I think he takes plays off. But he'll also force Hansbrough to guard him outside, because Heytvelt is a capable outside shooter -- he hit more than 40 percent from three this year. When you have fours and fives who can shoot like that, it really makes it tough to defend."
• "You don't find 6-10 guys anywhere who are as skilled as Austin Daye is. It's amazing sometimes what he does off the dribble -- he'll make an inside-out crossover, and you're like, 'Are you kidding me? This guy's 6-10?' He likes to face up to the basket once he receives it in the post, and he's always looking to slip ball screens and go to the rim."
SI.com's pick: North Carolina 92, Gonzaga 89.
This should be an epic -- or at least I'm hoping it will be. Lawson's toe issues will keep it from becoming a rout, and Pargo, Bouldin and Demetri Goodson will be just fine in a running game. The difference will be that the Zags just aren't deep enough inside after Heytvelt, whereas Carolina has three solid around-the-basket guys in Hansbrough, Thompson and Ed Davis.
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