Michigan State vs. UConn
Both State and UConn have had impressive runs to the Final Four. State topped number one overall seed Louisville to advance to the Final Four and gain home state advantage (the Final Four is in Detroit.) UConn handidly beat Purdue and Mizzou on their way to the Great Lakes State. The reason why State beat Louisville is because they changed Louisville’s style of play to a slower, half-court Big Ten style. That disrupted Louisville’s offense, but the effect will not be the same on UConn.
UConn is exceptional in the half-court defense and offense because they can utilize big men Hasheem Thabeet (7 foot 3 inches) and Jeff Adrien (6 foot 7 inches.) MSU does not have the size to match-up with Thabeet, Goran Suton is 6 foot 10. However, Suton has the ability to hit shots from the outside, which would draw Thabeet out for State’s Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lucas to slash to the basket for an easy 2 points. Moreover, is the State can get Thabeet in foul trouble, State has an advantage because their guards can match-up very well against UConn’s A.J. Price and Kemba Walker. This is going to be a defensive slug-fest that’s going to come down to the last basket. UConn’s outstanding free throw shooting (81% against Mizzou) could be a difference maker as well.
I like UConn. They have a deeper bench and more dynamic big men. Also, in the half court play, I give the advantage to UConn and Thabeet. The X factor for UConn is freshman Kemba Walker. If he can get hot he will take the pressure of A.J. Price and Thabeet. For Michigan State, the X factor is Goran Suton. He played outstanding against Louisville and if he can get Thabeet into foul trouble, it’s going to give State the best chance to win. I look for UConn to edge out State, but don’t sleep on the Spartans! East Lansing is only an hour and a half away. That’s practically home court.
UConn: 62 Michigan State: 59
North Carolina vs. Villanova
Nova, after struggling with no. 15 seed American University in the first round, has stormed back and beat perennial powerhouse Duke in the Sweet Sixteen and no. 1 see Pittsburgh in the Elite Eight. UNC is a perennial powerhouse themselves and has laid a beat down on Gonzaga and Oklahoma the past two games.
I like UNC in this game. They have so much talent at every position. From former Naismith winner Tyler Hansbrough to Iron Man Ty Lawson to jack of all trades Danny Green. Villanova can’t really match-up with them. Villanova does have an outstanding guard in Scottie Reynolds and a good swingman in Dante Cunningham. However, UNC has too much talent for Villanova. Also, I wonder how Villanova head coach Jay Wright will respond to coaching in his first ever Final Four. He has the tall task of coaching against future hall of famer in Roy Williams.
Villanova’s only hope is if Scottie Reynolds heats up. If he scores 30, the Wildcats have a better chance. Pair that with getting the heart and soul of the Tar Heels, Hansbrough, in foul trouble and the Wildcats can have a very good chance. But, that won’t happen. Ty Lawson will take care of the ball, Hansbrough will dominate the paint, and Danny Green and Wayne Ellington will hit lay-ups and jump shots. Sorry, Jay, your run ends now.
North Carolina: 75 Villanova: 65