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Iowa State vs. UConn NOT DeAndre Kane vs. Shabazz Napier!

The only way I made it in professional basketball was being a team player.  Everyone has a role to play in life and on a team. That is what basketball is, a team sport.  That is what I am, a team player in life and in sport.

I get upset when games are marketed as individual players matching up and not the teams matching up. Without all of the players on a team, there is no team. That guy at the end of the bench, maybe a walk on, is a very important part of the team. The manager and trainers are all a part of a team, tirelessly working together for a common goal, to put the TEAM in a position to be successful.

That being shared, even losses are important to the success of a team, learning from failure is often the best way to improve and excel overall.


But man, is it going to be exciting to watch DeAndre Kane go against Shabazz Napier!

Friday night's first game at Madison Square Garden with the winner advancing to the Elite Eight will feature these two "heavy weights" battling for the berth. Both great players, their stats are very impressive and very comparable.

Here is how they compare: Napier is 6-1 by 180, Kane; 6-4 200 lbs. (this is the biggest disparity)

Here is the stat comparison:  

Points: Kane 17.1, Napier 17.8

Rebounds: Kane 6.8, Napier 5.9

Assists: Kane 5.8, Napier 6.7

USA TODAY Sports ranked them among the top 5 of the 10 best players, Kane No. 4, Napier No. 5

Team Records: Iowa State 28-7, UConn 28-8

I love Kane's approach. He said Thursday, "Big opportunity. There will be times when we're one-on-one, but it's not going to be like that the whole game.  It's not going to be just about us.  It's about Iowa State against UConn."

Because they are such similar players, yet Kane is a bit bigger, you should see help if Napier were to use his quickness and get a step on Kane.  This is needed to keep Kane out of foul trouble, especially early in the game.

Who is needed to provide this help to keep Kane on the court? Teammates.  

"What an intense matchup," said Melvin Ejim, Iowa State's top scorer and Big 12 player of the year. "It's that matchup everyone's been waiting for."

Sounds like a great teammate.

Iowa State wins this one in a battle to the finish. Not Kane, but Iowa State.