The seventh-seeded Connecticut Huskies (29-8 SU, 20-15 ATS, 13-21 O/U) will be looking to pull off another ‘upset’ and subsequently cash as the right NCAA Tournament East Region Finals Pick when they take on the fourth-seeded Michigan State Spartans (29-8 SU, 20-13-3 ATS, 19-17 O/U) on Sunday afternoon in the Big Apple.
While numerous pundits, handicappers and fans, including President Barack Obama, picked the Michigan State Spartans and respected head coach Tom Izzo to win this year’s March Madness classic, not many folks picked the scrappy Huskies to even reach the Elite Eight, but here they are.
Now, let’s see if Jim Calhoun’s ballclub can pull off another upset to cash in on this Elite Eight game’s value-packed odds.
Elite Eight Betting Odds: Michigan State -5.5
Why UConn will win the East Regional Final and go to the Final Four?
The Huskies will win this contest because…well…they are apparently a lot better than anyone really gave them credit for. UConn has taken out two straight teams that were supposed to be a lot better than them in beating No. 2 Villanova by a dozen and No. 3 Iowa State 81-76 on Friday.
More importantly, the Huskies showed everyone in their win over the Cyclones that they are a whole lot more than a one-man show led by electrifying point guard Shabazz Napier as forward DeAndre Daniels (27 points) and shooting guard Ryan Boatwright (16 points) both had huge games to help sink Iowa State.
Could the Huskies become the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions?
If the Huskies can get past Michigan State, I say it’s quite possible they could win it all, though it will certainly be no small task. UConn averaged a fine 72.7 points per game this season and have a defense that doesn’t get enough credit for finishing 40th in the nation in points allowed (64.0) and a fantastic 13th in opponents’ field goal percentage 39.2) while also draining a blistering 39.4 percent of their own three-pointers (16th).
Why Michigan State will win the East Regional Final and go to the Final Four?
The Spartans will win because they have the deeper, more balanced team and bigger frontcourt. Michigan State has four players that averaged double digits during the regular season and three of those players were guards that should be able to surpass the output of UConn’s Napier and Boatwright.
The Spartans are well-balanced having finished in the top 65 in scoring and points allowed, field goal percentage and field goal defense, three-point shooting and rebounding.
Could the Spartans become the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions?
Of course they can and they very well could. Michigan State hasn’t looked overly impressive in beating both, Virginia and Harvard in their last two tourney contests, but they’ve still managed to get the job done, which is a sign of a classic Tom Izzo team.
And the winner is…
I like the Michigan State Spartans to find a way to win this contest, but I don’t expect them to cover the spread in a game I see coming down to the very last possession or two. I’m quite disturbed by the two blowout losses UConn took to Louisville in each of their last to meetings against their Conference rivals and I see Michigan State being a lot closer to that kind of team than the ones that the Huskies have beaten recently.
Michigan State wins this one in a nail-biter, but the Huskies cover the 5-point spread with a touch of room to spare.