Texas Tech Red Raiders (30-6) at Michigan State Spartans (32-6)
NCAA Basketball: Saturday, April 6th, 2019, at 8:49 pm (U.S. Bank Stadium)
Lines & Odds: Michigan State -2.5; Under/Over: 132.5
March Madness Pick Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Michigan State Spartans
Plenty of the madness has died down as the bracket now only consist of four teams. Texas Tech, Michigan State, Virginia, and Auburn are the last four standing. Two of the teams in Texas Tech and Auburn disrupted brackets with their efficient play to break into the Final Four. However, Texas Tech had more of a chance than Auburn to dance into the Final Four. Now that Texas Tech has arrived, the Red Raiders will face one of the most complete teams in Michigan State to fight for a spot in the national title game. It will not be an easy feat, but one that will be worth it if won.
Texas Tech Red Raiders (30-6) #3
The Red Raiders were not destined to survive past MIchigan but obliterated the Wolverines, 63-44. Then Gonzaga were the supposed team to dethrone the Red Raiders, but Texas Tech had other plans and outscored the Bulldogs, 40-32, in the second half, with Texas Tech guard David Moretti hitting two clutch three-pointers, and the Red Raiders clamping down on defense to upset the one-seeded Bulldogs,75-69, to make the Final Four. Now Michigan State stands in their way of reaching the title game, and potentially winning it all.
In order for the Red Raiders to gain another upset, forcing the Spartans into early foul trouble and numerous turnovers to soften the play of Michigan State on both ends of the ball can promote success of the Red Raiders in this matchup. MIchigan State have committed 482 turnovers (314th) and 632 personal fouls (286th), two factors that have been detriments in their six loses. The Red Raiders will also need to outrebound the Spartans as Michigan are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation with 1,543 rebounds (3rd). Lastly, Texas Tech will need to contain junior guard Cassius Winston (18.9 PPG, 7.6 APG, & 3PT%: 40.4%) as he’s the true catalyst of this Spartans’ offense. Forcing Winston into inefficient play is very key for the Red Raiders in winning this matchup.
Michigan State Spartans (32-6) #2
The Spartans were expected to make it far, some forecasting an upset victory over Duke, which came to fruition. All season, despite the lost of key players in Joshua Langford (15 PPG, 3.6 RPG, & 3PT%: 40.3%) and Kyle Ahrens (4.7 PPG & 2.5 RPG) along with the past injury of Nick Ward (13.2 PPG & 6.1 RPG), the Spartans have relied on available bodies and coaching to earn a spot in the Final Four. They have a daunting task on their hands as they face a wicked defense in the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Red Raiders ranks third in the nation on scoring defense, holding opponents to 59 PPG. The key ingredients to defeating the Red Raiders are: offensive rebounding (221st), assists (88th), turnovers (223rd), and personal fouls (274th). The Spartans are the better rebounding team, both offensively and defensively. The Spartans also the better assisting team in this matchup, ranking first in the nation with 710 assists in contrast to Texas Tech’s 481 assists, ranking 88th in the nation. If Michigan State can continue to truly rely on total team play on both ends of the floor like they have all season, the Red Raiders will be in for a long night.
March Madness Prediction Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Michigan State Spartans
This match up will be based on rebounding and gritty defense. Offense, of course, will be crucial in winning this game, but offense and defense win championships, and Michigan State has all the makings to do so. However, Texas Tech will not go down easily as the Red Raiders’ defense will attempt to prevent Michigan State from advancing as much as possible. The balance offense of Michigan State behind their star guard Cassius Winston will earn a spot in the national title game.
Pick: Under 132.5