The first Final Four tilt of the 2015 NCAA Tourney betting season will feature Coach Izzo vs Coack K when the Michigan State Spartans take on the 5-point favorite Duke Blue Devils with the winner facing either Kentucky or Wisconsin.
Duke has bested Michigan State with an 8-1 record in head-to-head play, including an 81-71 victory at the Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the Spartans’ second game of the season.
The lone win for team Izzo came in the NCAA Tournament — a 78-68 victory in the Sweet 16 in 2005 when Duke was the No. 1 seed and Michigan State was a No. 5. The Spartans followed that with a win over No. 2 Kentucky to earn a spot in the Final Four.
“Mike and I have had a lot of battles,” Izzo said before the outcome of the Duke-Gonzaga game was known. “He’s really going to enjoy it because he’s won, I think, nine of them, and I think I’ve won one. So that’s tough.”
The last time Duke and Michigan State played in the Final Four, the Blue Devils beat the Spartans, 68-62, in 1999. The teams met in the Sweet 16 in 2013 with Duke pulling out a 71-61 victory.
But the Spartans have been knocking off higher seeded teams for the past three games, beating No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Louisville.
Analyzing The Michigan State Spartans Vs Duke Blue Devils Final Four Odds & My Final Score Prediction
Matchup: (7) Michigan State Spartans vs (1) Duke Blue Devils
Date: Apr. 4 2015
Start Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Stadium: Lucas Oil Stadium
TV Info: TBS
Stream: March Madness Live
Radio: Michigan State Vs Duke
Point Spread: Blue Devils -5
Game Total: 139
Michigan State Will Cover the 5-point Spread If
The Spartans’ defense can hold Duke to under 40% shooting from the field.
The reason that Tom Izzo and Michigan State are in the Final Four this season is because they play defense as well as any team in the nation. The Spartans have been absolutely phenomenal defensively during the NCAA Tournament.
— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) March 29, 2015
Georgia shot only 33.3% from the field and 28.6% from three versus the Spartans in the first round. In the second round, Michigan State held Virginia to 29.8%from the field and 11.8% from the arc. Michigan State kept Oklahoma to 36.4% from the field and 23.5% from three in the Sweet 16. In the 76 to 70 victory over Louisville in the Elite Eight, Michigan State kept the Cardinals to 35.9% from the field and 36.4% from three. Duke averages 50.2% from the field and 39% from three. If Michigan State hopes to cover the spread versus the Blue Devils in the Final Four, they will need to hold Duke to less than 40% from the field.
Michigan State’s Final Four Projected Starting Line Up
- G Travis Trice, 6-0, Sr., 14.8 ppg, 5.4 apg
- G Tum Tum Nairn, 5-10, Fr., 2.2 ppg, 2.6 apg
- F Denzel Valentine, 6-5, Jr., 14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg
- F Branden Dawson, 6-6, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg
- C Gavin Schilling, 6-9, So., 5.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg
- Coach: Tom Izzo (20th season)
Duke Will Cover the 5-point Spread If
The Blue Devils D can shutdown a Spartans run in the 2nd half.
The Blue Devils looked great when beating Gonzaga 66 to 52 to secure yet another Final Four berth for Coach K. Duke only shot 37.5% from the field but they made the stops at the right time, and Gonzaga shot itself in the foot in the second half, for the Blue Devils to secure an Elite Eight victory.
Versus Michigan State, Duke is going to have to be excellent in both halves. The Spartans have shown the ability to be better in the second half in every single game in the tournament. This was evident in their overtime win versus Louisville where the Spartans outscored the Cardinals 33 to 25 in the second half and 11 to 5 in overtime. If Duke hopes to cover the spread versus Michigan State, the Blue Devils are going to have to be ready for Michigan State’s patented second half run. They’re going to have to squash it before it gets started. If the Blue Devils don’t, Duke could be watching the National Championship from home on Monday night.
Duke Blue Devils Projected Final Four Starting Lineup
- G Tyus Jones, 6-1, Fr., 11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
- G Quinn Cook, 6-2, Sr., 15.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
- G Matt Jones, 6-5, So., 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg
- F Justise Winslow, 6-6, Fr., 12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg
- C Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, Fr., 17.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg
- Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (35th year)