Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers
Date and Time: Friday 3/28/14 at 9:55pm on TBS
Game Line: Michigan State -1.5 (from JustBet)
Friday Sweet 16 Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers Analysis: Michigan State basketball hasn’t changed their teams name, but they haven’t been mentioned the last couple weeks without “finally healthy” right before it. It is true, the Spartans are finally healthy and are playing like the team that started the season at 18-1 and spent three weeks at the top of the Top 25. The finally healthy and fourth-seeded Spartans (28-8) meet top-seeded Virginia (30-6) on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The winner will face the winner of the Connecticut-Iowa State game on Sunday for a berth in the Final Four. The Cavaliers haven’t had any health issues to speak of and they certainly haven’t spent much time sulking over losses. Since Jan. 18, they are 18-1, closing the season the way the Spartans started it. They won their first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 1981 and swept to their first ACC tournament championship in 38 years. Michigan State has always been known for its toughness and rebounding ability under Izzo, who had led the Spartans to six Final Fours, including the 2000 national championship. This team, Izzo’s sixth to reach the round of 16 in the last seven years, comes in averaging 76.6 points per game, about 10 points better than Virginia. The Cavaliers, who would set a school record with a 31st win and are making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1995, lead the nation in defense, allowing 55.5 points per game, about 11 less than Michigan State. These will be the first NCAA tournament games played in Madison Square Garden since 1961. This game will be decided by the team that gets to play their style on both ends of the floor. Virginia will try to use the entire shot clock, play great defense and limit Michigan State’s chances on the offensive glass while Michigan State will try to push the ball in transition and get a few easy scores before the Virginia defense has a chance to get set. Michigan State has experience playing against elite defensive teams and will come ready for a grinder of a game. If Michigan State is going to lose in this tournament it is going to be against an offensive power, not a defensive one.
Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State -1.5 and under 126.5
Michigan State Spartans at Virginia Cavaliers Game Prediction: 63-59 Michigan State
What to expect in this NCAA Tournament match up: The media says that which ever team will get to play their style of game will win this one, but we don’t think that is true. Michigan State has no problem playing to Virginia’s style and they have the clutch scorers to create their own shot in Adrien Payne and Gary Harris, regarless of how tight the Virginia defense is. On the other side, Virginia doesn’t have the offensive weapons to score late in the shot clock or late in the game to help them win in crunch time. Michigan State is vulnerable to a team that likes to score in the 80′s, not a team that holds opposing teams in the 50′s.
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