Final Four Preview | Line Vision 360
The Final Four weekend is finally upon us and for the gambling world, Elite 8 Sunday seems like years ago. The CBS executives are not happy with the blue bloods coming up short in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 but there is still plenty of intrigue in college basketball’s final weekend.
It all starts with a group of firsts. We have three coaches (Bruce Pearl, Tony Bennett, Chris Beard) making their first appearance in the Final Four. Izzo on the other hand is the modern king of Final Fours. He is taking Michigan State to its 8th Final Four since 1999 (99, 00, 01, 05, 09, 10, 15, 18). This is the most by any coach in that time period. While experience on college basketball’s biggest stage seems ideal, Izzo’s Michigan State teams are only 2-5 SU in the opening round of the Final Four and 3-6 SU overall. They won it all in 2000 and advanced to the title game in 2009, only to be handled by UNC.
The second group of firsts consists of two institutions making their first appearances in school history. Auburn and Texas Tech are coming in hot to their first Final Four. Both teams are playing as good as anyone in the country down the stretch. Unfortunately for both teams, since 1985 (the year the NCAA tournament field moved to 64 teams) first time Final Four teams are 4-10 SU in the opening round.
So the biggest question we have is which trend will be broken? Will Izzo be able to overcome his Final Four struggles or will the first timers be able to overcome the immense pressure that comes with the final song at the “Big Dance?”
Outside of historical trends we have two great matchups on court. Texas Tech and Michigan St play elite defense but both have creative playmakers starting with Big 10 player of the year Cassius Winston and Big 12 player of the year Jarret Culver. Both teams are in the Kenpom top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency so every possession will be hard fought. It will be really interesting to see what Izzo and Beard can draw up to get their dynamic scorers good looks against these top defenses.
On the other side of the bracket, the game is going to be decided by play on the perimeter. This is a great matchup and is strength on strength for both teams. Auburn makes 11 3’s a game and this puts them at 3rd in the country in this category. The best part about this, is that UVA opponents only shoot 28.7% from behind the arc which is the 4th best mark in the country. Auburn will not have as many open looks as they are used to but will they be able to make the contested shots they have been making all year? The
While this seems like a lot of information, we have considered so much more. We have these picks locked in and are looking at perfect finish to an already HUGE March Madness. Join the team and cash in as we close out the NCAA basketball season.
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