Your UCONN - Michigan State match-up preview

  • Kalin Lucas - AJ Price:  Lucas has stepped up to the plate for Tom Izzo's troops, looking to have the ball when the game is on the line.  Lucas' Big Ten Player of the Year status will not be taken lightly.  Price on the other, has always been "the man" for the Huskies.  As the floor general and mass distributor of apples, Price also serves as the most deadly threat from beyond the 2+1 arc.  Price left last years tournament prematurely with an injury in the first round loss to San Diego but Price's determination to go the distance has carried the Huskies this far and we think he will make it one more. Advantage: Price.
  • Travis Walton - Craig Austrie:  Let them shoot.  Neither of these two pose a major threat on offense.  Austrie has only touched double fig's once since the injury to Jerome Dyson.  Travis Walton is a defensive fortress, leading the team in steals.  However, Walton is stuck in the early 1900's, not realizing the three point line exists.  The 6'2" Walton has only taken five three's on the year.  Starting Division I guard that has only taken five three pointers on the year? Wow.  Reiterate: Let them shoot! Advantage: Pick 'em.
  • Delvon Roe - Stanley Robinson: Roe is usually the first palyer to exit stage left for the Spartans.  His two surgically repaired knees have barely been able to motor him to 4 points a game in the tournament, shooting the ball a mere 10 times in four games.  Robinson is a dunking machine, always finding himself on the receiving end of a wide open set up at the front of the tin.  Robinson can blow up at any given moment and make Thabeet look like the supporting cast.  Advantage: Robinson in a landslide.
  • Raymar Morgan - Jeff Adrien: Michigan State is feeling pretty good about the fact that they made it to the Final Four while Morgan was a non-factor.  To say that Morgan has struggled, would be a massive understatement.  Morgan has been beaten up during the season by mononucleosis and pneumonia and now the broken nose he suffered last weekend won't improve his 8 for 26 shooting and 5.8 ppg in the tournament.  Adrien doesn't pose as a major threat shooting the basketball but if his 15 footer is falling, it will make it difficult to stop this athletic and lengthy swingman.  Adrien can really lock it down on defense, inside or outside. Advantage: Broken nose yeilds to Adrien.
  • Goran Suton - Hasheem Thabeet: The 6'10" Suton sacrifices five inches to the monster in the middle of the UConn defense, but who doesn't?  Suton has the girth to move Thabeet around a bit and his second weekend point average fell just short of 20 a clip.  We don't expect that against the best interior defender in the nation but he will be a factor.  If you havn't heard the name Hasheem Thabeet yet the you must be too busy following the undefeated Lady Huskies.  Thabeet swallows up shots in the paint, averaging 4.3 "return to senders" per contest.  Advantage: We'll take the 7'3" Thabeet 9 out of 10 times.
  • Bench:  Michigan State has relied on the play of Draymond Green, Chris Allen and Durrell Summers during the slouching play of Roe and Morgan.  Summers and Allen have consistenly performed well on the offensive end, as top five scorers for the Spartans.  UConn's bench was called on earlier than Jim Calhoun would have liked with the loss of Jerome Dyson.  Kemba Walker tore up the elite defense of the Mizzou Tigers for 23 points and Gavin Edwards has been a mainstay on the front line.  Advantage: Spartans.
  • Which school would make for a better weekend visit:  Well for starters, remember that the Spartans are playing in their backyard.  Detroit may be the most triffling major economy in the United States but that wouldn't prevent the Spartan students from creating a massive bar bashing in their home away from home.  Storrs has not been known for their stellar stunners in the female department but if Diana Taurasi came back to bong a few beers in honor of the men's AND women's trip to their respective Final Fours, we'd like to be there.  Advantage: Sparty and local watering holes.

So who's going to win?  UConn has looked too strong all season and coupled with the idea that Mich St. has out punted their coverage after defeating Louisville, they're just playing with house money.  It tough to see the Huskies being slowed down, so we'll say  "Goodbye Sparty, you can walk home!"  Thabeet dominates Suton and the Huskies steal a 10 point win in Detroit.

 

***For more statistical analysis on this Final Four match-up, check out StatSheet.com

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