Villanova just blew out Miami and survived No. 1 Kansas. Not it has to solve the Sooner mystery that is Buddy Hield and beat Oklahoma in the Final Four.
How do the Wildcats contain Hield, who is averaging 29.3 points in the tournament?
“Wow, it’s tough,” college basketball and NBA analyst Grant Hill said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The way they play, it’s a lot of one-on-one, a lot of dribble-drives. Buddy Hield is pretty remarkable because a lot of his points, he kind of goes and gets on his own. He’s not a guy that’s coming off screens and, as a result of executing your offense, (gets) open looks; he gets the ball and he can put it on the floor and he has a nice step-back, he hunts the three-point line – he’s a dynamic scorer, and he’s relentless in terms of just attacking you. So I think you have to really work hard and make him uncomfortable, try to deny him the basketball. You got to watch him in transition because he really runs the court hard, and they look for him and he hits big threes in transition. You just got to take him out of his comfort zone, which really is anywhere in the half-court, but you’ve got to get in his space. You can’t give him any kind of breathing room, and you just got to try to make him uncomfortable – and that’s something that Villanova can do. That’s how they play. There’s got to be a Hield awareness wherever he is on the court. But every team has played him this year and understands and has tried to devise different types of scouting reports, and to his credit, he’s still been able to go out there, put up big numbers and help his team win most of the games.”
Charles Barkley has said defenses should force Hield to go right because he loves going left. That’s a start, Hill said, but the game-plan has to be more advanced than that.
“I mean, every player has tendencies,” Hill said. “Look, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant – those guys have tendencies. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily can stop them. That’s from the pro level and the guys who are considered the best in the world. So you have a scouting report and you try to go out there and maybe force him right, but he’s so crafty. I always say good offense always trumps good defense. That’s how talented those special players are, and Buddy Hield is a special player. You can’t score if you don’t have the ball, so always trying to deny and prevent him from getting the ball is one approach. But to Oklahoma’s credit, if you play 4-on-4, you have other good players. You have others guys on that team that are capable. Isaiah Cousins, Jordan Woodard – these guys are pretty talented in their own right, and they’re accustomed to having to play big basketball and make plays. I think sometimes (they) get lost in the shuffle there because of Buddy and how good he is. But making him uncomfortable, making somebody else beat you has got to be part of a team’s game-plan when you go against Oklahoma.”