#5 Michigan State Spartans
#6 Tennessee Volunteers
Vegas Odds: Tennessee -1
Why Watch? Tennessee will be playing for their first-ever Final Four while the Spartans have become a borderline staple of the event over the last decade. How will Korie Lucious perform against a team that wants to run and press for forty minutes? Will Tennessee make sound decisions in regards to shot selection? And with the two teams being relatively equal, this should go down to the wire.
How Michigan St Got Here: Michigan St 59 - Northern Iowa 52
How Tennessee Got Here: Tennessee 76 - Ohio St 73
Why Tennessee Will Win: Korie Lucious and company will struggle to take care of the basketball against the Tennessee defense, allowing the Volunteers to run when they want to. And Wayne Chism and Brian Williams will combine to control the boards and the paint as they did in their win over Ohio State.
Volunteer to Watch: C Wayne Chism
Chism had an outstanding second half on Friday night, scoring 18 of his 22 points in the decisive twenty minutes against Ohio State. But he’s going to meet more resistance in terms of the number of bodies that Michigan State can throw at him. Does he look to dominate inside or does he drift away from the paint to fire away from deep? While he can knock down the three that really hasn’t been where he (and by extension Tennessee) has been at its best during this run.
Why Michigan State Will Win: Tom Izzo’s been to five Final Fours during his time as the head coach in East Lansing; this is his time of the year. Add in Durrell Summers, who had his best offensive game of the tournament on Friday night, and glue guy Draymond Green among others and their improbable run will continue on to Indianapolis.
Spartan to Watch: G Korie Lucious
The Volunteers like to apply pressure to primary ball-handlers, making Lucious’ job as the point guard all the more important on Sunday. In three tournament games the sophomore has eight assists and four turnovers, but he’s shooting just 39.1% from the field in those games. He’ll need to shoot better from the field as well as take care of the basketball if Michigan State is to give Coach Izzo his sixth Final Four trip.
How It Will Go Down:
Tennessee will be a tough out and then some, but I have a hard time going against Izzo in March. Chris Allen knocks down a big shot late and Michigan State marches on to Indianapolis.
Betting Pick: Michigan State +1
Real Pick: Michigan State