NCAA Final Four Preview
Michigan State Spartans (30-6) vs. Connecticut Huskies (31-4)
Saturday, 6:07PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Connecticut -4, 133.5 O/U
The first game of the Final Four will host two familiar faces in the Michigan State Spartans and the Connecticut Huskies. The Spartans are making their 5th Final Four visit in the last 11 years which is simply remarkable. Connecticut was a big favorite out of the West bracket and they backed up the hype well playing solid basketball throughout the tournament. Michigan State appears to be playing their best basketball of the season and that should make for a great game. The grudge match will be a classic battle especially on the inside in the paint. The Huskies and the Spartans both are tremendous teams in terms of rebounding and scoring down low. Centers Goran Suton of Michigan State and Hasheem Thabeet for Connecticut should be in for an intense match-up. The team that can really execute drives to the basket and establish presence on the boards will hold a huge advantage considering the most of these two teams production this season has come from the paint.
The Connecticut Huskies defeated a surging Missouri team in the Elite Eight 82-75. Freshmen guard Kemba Walker had his biggest night of the year in that game stepping up for the Huskies and knocking down 23 points. Walker along with senior guard A.J Price could make a huge impact if they could manage to knock down shots from the perimeter. That scenario would open the play up on the inside with the double threat considering Connecticut is a team that attempts a low amount of 3 point shots. However, the inside will be the game to watch. Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien are both averaging double-double averages that nearly mirror each other. The two standouts are posting a little over 13 points per game while pulling down over 10 rebounds per game as well. These two players will be the biggest difference in the game for Connecticut and their chances for a National Championship will likely lie in their hands. The Huskies should match-up well as long as they do not get dominated on the boards and will be the small favorites heading into the big showdown.
Michigan State may be a bit of a surprise to some people around the nation. The Spartans seemed a bit inconsistent over some average teams this season. However, Michigan State has sort of made a reputation for making Final Four appearances. Sophomore guard Kalin Lucas has been the biggest threat on the offensive side of the court this season for the Spartans averaging right at 15 points per game. However, over the last two big games against defending National Champions Kansas and overall number one seed Louisville center Goran Suton has been the big asset on the Spartans roster. Outside of the USC game, Suton has posted double-double numbers in all 3 other games. The ability for the big center to be affective on the inside against the talented inside group from Connecticut will an uphill battle, but could be the big payoff as well. The Spartans own the nation’s best average at holding opponents to only 27 boards per game and those numbers will need to continue to be able to control the game like they have all throughout their previous match-ups in the tournament. The battle should be intense as the Spartans look to return to the National Championship game as they did in 2000.
Pick – Huskies in a close one