Fred Hoiberg’s team has to be excited at the possibility of knocking off the defending champions. However, to get through UCONN, they will have to deal with some tough matchups. There are two big time battles that will be going on tomorrow night: Chris Babb vs Jeremy Lamb and Royce White vs Andre Drummond.
Chris Babb vs Jeremy Lamb
As Cyclone fans, we all know what Chris Babb can do on defense. He is always stuck on the enemy’s best perimeter player and is known as one of the best defenders in the Big 12 (and still got snubbed of all-defensive team). His task: guarding a future top 10 pick. Jeremy Lamb is a scorer as he averages 17.7 PPG. Lamb is lengthy, as he is 6’5, 180 lbs, and has a wingspan of 7’1. Babb and Lamb are the same height, but I guarantee you that Babb doesn’t have Lamb’s wingspan. That presents a problem for the Cyclones. Lamb likes to move without the ball to get his shots as Ian of Sox & Dawgs told us. If Lamb comes off a screen and Babb is a step behind, Lamb will get off a clean shot because of his length. Chris Babb has to be able to fight through screens and try to go step for step with Lamb.
It is going to be almost impossible to shutdown Jeremy Lamb, but Chris Babb has to limit him. To do this, I think Babb is going to have to should be physical with Lamb. Both players may be the same height, but Babb is a lot thicker and stronger than Lamb.
Royce White vs Andre Drummond
This matchup presents problems for both teams as each player has unique skills. As you know, Royce White can be strong and show a lot of finesse. While Andre Drummond is strong, bulky, and can really jump (he wears #12 because of his idol, Dwight Howard). Drummond is 6’10 compared to Royce White at 6’8. Drummond doesn’t have a great post-game, but gets a lot of dunks because of his height and vertical attack.
Both players have an advantage on offense. With his height, Drummond should get a lot of putbacks and rebounds. Royce White is great on offense, but has struggled on defense down low. However, I doubt that Drummond will be able to keep up with Royce White especially on the perimeter. If Royce takes Drummond out past the free throw line, White should be able to get around him for a couple baskets. Drummond vs White should be a treat to all basketball fans.