Opening line spreads have been announced for the Final Four. Michigan State is the favorite over Texas Tech at -3 and Virgina is the favorite over Auburn at -5.5. We’ll take a look at each team, the matchup, and my favorites for the newly announced lines.
Let’s start with the Michigan State. They’re coming off a huge upset on number one overall seed duke, defeating the beloved Zion William. They’re averaging 73.5 points in the tournament, their highest score being 80 on the tough LSU defense in the Sweet 16. Michigan State is also allowing only an average 61.25 points per game. They’re good to say the least and have dominated all lower seed opponents up to this point, none hotter than Texas Tech.
Texas Tech is defense. They’re thriving on the play of their defense and using it on the offensive side. They are also coming off a huge victory after defeating Gonzaga 75-69 to secure a spot in the Final Four. They’re a big, physical team looking to slow it down and take the open shots. In the tournament the Red Raiders have held their opponents to a staggering 57 points, while scoring and average of 72 points in the tournament. Absolute domination.
The Matchup: #2 Michigan State vs. #3 Texas Tech
It is going to be a slow game with lots of defense. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Michigan State’s shooting from the field. If they are able to make shots and score on Texas Tech’s tough defense they are going to win. Michigan State has a 47.2% field goal percentage this season, and to defeat the Red Raiders they’re going to need to shoot above 50% while shooting well from beyond the arc. However, the emotional nerves brought by the Final Four atmosphere is going to affect the shooting, especially early. Texas Tech’s slow paced defensive strategy is going to play in their favor and will allow them to stay in the game regardless of Michigan State’s shooting.
With that, I believe Texas Tech will not only cover the -3 spread, but can actually win the game due to poor shooting selection from Michigan State, and winning physicality of Texas Tech.
On to Virginia. Virginia has, for most of the season, been considered the best team in college basketball losing only to Duke and Florida State. They’re long and athletic, shooting at a solid clip from the field at 47.8 percent. Despite the really good regular season the Cavaliers, disregarding the Purdue game, have been sub par. Yes, they’re good and have made it to the Final Four, but from what we’ve seen in the 2019 Tournament, they have underperformed.
Last, but certainly not least, is the dark horse five seed Auburn. The Tigers probably have the best resume since the round of 64, absolutely dominating good opponents, defeating household names including Kentucky, North Carolina, and Kansas. They’re, probably, the hottest team in basketball winning their last 12 games. They’re fast, and work best in transition, something they’ve been able to do in the tournament.
The matchup: #1 Virginia vs. #5 Auburn
The only teams to have beaten Virginia include the veteran and extremely athletic Florida State, and super athletic and strong Duke. Virgina, has looked to be unbeatable when playing younger teams or teams with less size, athleticism. This is going to make for a great game, as Auburn has some veteran players, with lots of athleticism. Expect Auburn to use their speed by, you guessed it, running the floor in transition and working in to our creating open shots while Virgina will try to slow the game down and keeping Auburn out of rhythm. This game will be intense with a few early leads, and will ultimately come down to the wire. That’s why we’re taking Auburn to cover -5.5. They might not end up on top, however losing by a possession seems very probable.
Michigan State vs. Texas Tech: Saturday April 6th, 2019 8:49 PM E.T on CBS
Virginia vs. Auburn: Saturday April 6th, 2019 6:09 PM E.T on CBS