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Rush v. Tucker
One’s essentially a guard, the other’s essentially a forward. They’re both arguably the best players on their respective teams. If forced to make one overriding, potentially foolish prediction, I’d say that the player who makes this matchup of disparate types a mis-match will lead his team to victory.
Brandon Rush is a little more efficient from the field than PJ Tucker…
…but Rush takes a lot more jump shots even though less than a quarter of his field goal attempts are three-point shots. Tucker’s free throw rate is solid in conference play, but well below his season rate.
Brandon Rush is a good rebounder for his size. PJ Tucker is a good rebounder for anybody’s size. The degree to which both players have an advantage on the glass over a typical college small forward is masked to some degree by playing alongside two good rebounders at all times.
Tucker is a better passer and ball-handler than Rush. Both are good defensive players, though Tucker has quicker hands and plays the passing lanes better. Rush has become an effective on-the-ball defender, using good lateral movement to keep smaller players in front him and his long arms to challenge their jump shots. When guarding his man off-the-ball, Rush can still get caught ball-watching and be slow to react.
Kansas wins this matchup if…
1)Rush makes the open three-point attempts he gets against Texas’ zone defense.
2)Rush can penetrate the Texas zone without turning the ball over excessively.
Texas wins this matchup if…
1)Tucker uses his superior strength to get Rush in foul trouble.
2)Tucker dominates Rush on the offensive glass.