The guards get all the press in Monday night’s NCAA Championship Game, but the battle in the paint may just be the one to decide the game. Shelvin Mack and Shawn Vanzant are both capable on the perimeter for Butler, but face a tough test from the UConn guards on both ends of the floor. Kemba Walker is a handful for any team and Jeremy Lamb looks to be a star in the making. But the battle in the paint, where Matt Howard and Alex Oriakhi make their money for Butler and UConn, respectively, is the matchup to watch in Houston.
Howard is a handful, scrambling for loose balls, drawing fouls and scoring at an efficient clip for the Bulldogs. His 121.2 ORtg is a team-high, and his percentages on both the offensive and defensive glass — 10.3 and 20.5, respectively — are among the best for Butler. Howard is pesky, and can be a disruptive force for the Bulldogs, drawing 6.2 fouls per game.
For UConn, Alex Oriakhi handles the duties on the interior, but is overshadowed by the Huskies’ outstanding guards. His 112.1 ORtg is among the team leaders, and his offensive rebounding rate of 14.7 percent is in the top-25 nationally.
Keep an eye on the paint, specifically Howard and Oriakhi. Monday night’s NCAA Championship Game may just come down to these two.
For more on the Bulldogs and Huskies, check out the rest of our NCAA Championship Game StoryStream.