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2014 Final Four: Point Guard vs. Point Guard
By Reel Robinson

Talk about a classic matchup.

Growing up I have always been a big basketball fan, I even played pretty well in my high school days. I grew up a point guard following the example of my favorite guards like Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas and Jason Kidd. These were the players I as a fan immolated my game after and it made me a better basketball player because of it. This NCAA tournament has been full of young point guards that play significant roles on their teams and have large impacts on their success. The Final Four matchup between No. 1 Florida and No. 7 UConn is an example of a premiere point guard matchup in college basketball. Scottie Wilbekin of the Gators and Shabazz Napier of the Huskies prepare to square off for the second time this season, and it is pretty easy to say the player who plays best will be the player who leads their team to the national title game.

When taking a closer look at both teams, both point guards play a distinct role for their programs. Both are senior guards who'll have the bulk of the ball-handling in their hands. Wilbekin has taken it upon himself to be assertive on the offensive end when his team has needed it. He has been shooting the ball as good as any player in the tournament. His 23 points against Dayton propelled the Gators over the Flyers in the Elite Eight, but it has been his leadership and ability to hit timely three-point baskets that has made my respect level for his game rise. He controls the best team in the country and is the head of one of the stingiest defenses. He had his hands full against the Huskies early in the season when Napier scored a buzzer beater jump shot to give the Gators their last loss of the season. I wonder if that game is still on the Gators' mind, and more importantly, will Scottie play with a chip on his shoulder because of it.

Napier is one of the top candidates for player of the year. He has been the driving force of this under the radar Huskie team. He led the team in points, assists and rebounds this season and has contributed some of the biggest shots of the season, which have put the Huskies one game away from the National Championship. Napier was a part of the last UCoShabazz Napiernn title run as a freshman with Kemba Walker and he is looking at an opportunity to do the same as his old running mate. He is by far the player of the tournament so far and this matchup between him and Wilbekin will probably be the one that lift his chances of winning that honor. Shabazz has been a second half problem in the tournament for his opponents. His ability to step his game up to the next level down stretch of a game is what sets him apart from the typical point guard. I want to see if he can lead his team to a second win over the stout Gators.

The point guard is the most important position on the court. They run the plays and get everyone in the best position to be successful. Both Wilbekin and Napier are masters of their craft, sculpting and molding their fellow teammate’s abilities to make the team a success. They take the brunt of the punishment during the worst moments as well as the acknowledgement during the good moments. When your team has elite point guard play like both teams do, it will really comes down to who can defend who. After looking at both players during the tournament, figuring out a way to slow down Napier will be a bigger challenge for the Gators than the Huskies slowing down Wilbekin. The winner of this matchup may be cutting down the nets on Monday evening.

What do you think about the point guard battle in the Florida vs. UConn game? Let me know in the comments.

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