GLENDALE, Ariz. - North Carolina has watched the game video. The Tar Heels have poured over the statistics. They know the deal regarding Oregon stars, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks. Slow them down during Saturday's Final Four matchup, or forget about playing on Monday.
The how is the problem. The plan: Try to keep the ball out of their hands to begin with.
“For us, we have to try and make it as hard as possible for him to catch it,” North Carolina junior forward Justin Jackson said. “It’s extremely hard to stop somebody who’s got it going like that when they have the ball.”
If No. 3 Oregon (33-5) is going to upset the No. 1 Tar Heels (31-7) at the University of Phoenix Stadium the Ducks must receive high-end performances from Dorsey, a sophomore, and Brooks, a junior.
"They're so athletic," NC coach Roy Williams said of Oregon. "I try to figure out who the dickens do I have that can guard them. They present a lot of problems."
The two have carried the team offensively. Dorsey, who after an inconsistent regular season that saw him make three or fewer field goals 14 times, including six outings of one or zero field goals made, has been on fire since the Pac-12 Tournament. He's averaging 23.5 points per game on 62.3 percent shooting, including 57.8 percent from three-point range.
"He's been on a tear, no doubt about it," UO Coach Dana Altman said.
Brooks, the Pac-12 player of the year, is averaging 17.6 points on a modest 40 percent shooting, but he has hit several clutch shots along the way and is the team's best all-around playmaker.
“It’s going to be tough," North Carolina junior forward Theo Pinson said. "Big-time scorers. They can shoot the ball at a high level. They are one-on-one players, so at the same time, you’ve got to take on that challenge. Get put on an island and see what you can do.”
It might take many Tar Heels on that island to deal with Dorsey, who hasn't met a shot he didn't like in this tournament.
“A guy that hot, you’ve just got to be there and make it tough for them,” Pinson said.
That comes through pressure and disruption. Don't, Pinson added, let him get into rhythm.
“At the same time, he’s making shots all type of ways, so it doesn’t even matter,” Pinson said. “You just try to be there as much as you can.”
On the other end, Oregon will have its hands full with Jackson, who at 6-foot-8 is one of the more versatile wings in the country. The first-team All-American is averaging 18.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
“Great player," Brooks said. "One of the best players in the country. He’s versatile, he's 6-8, he can shoot it from anywhere on the floor. He has length.”
Jackson and Pinson will look to use that length to disrupt Dorsey and Brooks. How well that works could decide the game.