Bragging Rights Bracket: South Regional Final

by Micah Hart

For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. In the Elite Eight, we have a battle for the South regional crown and arguably Team of the 2000s as well.


Duke Blue Devils

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 3/27):

Carlos Boozer, Bulls: 26.8 points, 14.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 steals
Corey Maggette, Bucks: 27.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 steals
Elton Brand, Sixers: 20.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.6 steals
Grant Hill, Suns: 20.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
Luol Deng, Bulls: 21.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals

Missed the cut: Shane Battier, Grizzlies; Chris Duhon, Magic; Mike Dunleavy, Pacers; Gerald Henderson, Bobcats; Dahntay Jones, Pacers; Josh McRoberts, Pacers; JJ Redick, Magic; Shelden Williams, Knicks

How they got here: Took out the LSU Tigers in the Sweet 16 by a 61%-39% tally.

Team synopsis: People have a tendency to think that Duke players don’t do so well in the pros, but man, look at this lineup. Big and burly, and good luck keeping Brand, Boozer, and Maggette off the offensive glass. The only thing that could pose a problem for the Dookies is a lack of a top-notch outside shooter or true distributor, but Hill and Deng are good enough. Each guy on this team can put the ball in the basket.

Florida Gators

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 3/27):

David Lee, Warriors: 21.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.3 steals
Matt Bonner, Spurs: 16.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.9 steals
Al Horford, Hawks: 21.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 steals
Mike Miller, Heat: 13.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.1 blocks, 1.1 steals
Joakim Noah, Bulls: 17.2 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.9 blocks, 1.3 steals

Missed the cut: Corey Brewer, Mavericks; Jason Williams, Grizzlies; Udonis Haslem, Heat (injured); Marreese Speights, Sixers

Team synopsis: Seems like a lot of these teams are heavy on the big men and short on guards, and it’s not really any different with the Gators. However, despite their size, there’s actually some perimeter firepower here with Bonner, Miller, and even Horford, who has one of the most consistent mid-range jumpers in the NBA (and has started hoisting a three-pointer here and there). Between Lee, Horford, and Noah, it’s hard to imagine many rebounds getting away.

How they got here: Too big for Georgia Tech, the Gators chomped their way to the Elite Eight with a 68%-32% win.

All Ball’s take: Florida is a little younger than Duke, and has a decent size advantage on the boards (Horford-Noah is a slight advantage over Boozer-Brand, with Lee is a major plus over Maggette or Deng) The Blue Devils counter with much better ball-handling and face-the-basket scoring. Bonner is a terrific spot-up 3-point shooter but can’t be counted on to create off the dribble; in fact Miller is probably the only Florida player who can do so, and it ain’t exactly his best skill either. If these two teams met, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Horford and Noah check Deng and Maggette, as both have proven in their careers capable of staying with smaller players.

Ultimately, it would come down to Duke’s ability to get buckets vs. Florida’s ability to control the paint. Tough call either way.

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  1. NDub says:

    Neither have a guard but Duke would win, experience, IQ, and Perimeter game
    (Inside, Outside Game)

  2. royi440 says:

    After all, basketball is a game of guards and neither of the Gators can dribble past halfcourt. No way to dig down the post if no one feeds you the ball.