Michigan St. (+1.5) over Butler - Earlier this week, when the lines for tonight's Final Four were released, many of us did a double take. Butler the favorite? Oh wait, lest you forget, the Bulldogs are actually a formidable team, not just hitting lighting in a bottle. I could be off here but it just might be that Vegas weighed this game as giving Butler's home crowd a slight advantage over Tom Izzo's coaching abilities. Both teams matchup well with each other, and this is undoubedly going to be slow paced where taking care of the basketball become absloutely critical.
Anyone think that Korie Lucious is just a more sensual way to pronounce Kalin Lucas? If you're in agreement, then we share the same type of humor. Lucious hasn't been an upgrade over Lucas at all (5-18 shooting with 7 turnovers) but Durrell Summers has shouldered the load of a lost star. Averaging 22-points in his last three games, Summers, and not Butler's Gordon Haywood, is the most dangerous player in this game.
I had a dream last night that Matt Howard torched Draymond Green and led all in scoring. That probably won't happen. The Spartans will control the glass (they have a significant rebounding margin over Butler), make better plays in the final two minutes, and advance to Monday night.
Duke (-2.5) over West Virginia - As Lupe Fiasco so succinctly put it: "They be hatin, they be hatin. What? What? What? They be hatin!" And in case you aren't convinced, absolutely everybody hates Duke. I may be in the minority, but the Blue Devils Elite Eight victory over Baylor was impressive. Sure Baylor relies more on raw athleticism than basketball-IQ, but Duke trumped that trait that had haunted them all season (remember that rout they took on the chin against Georgetown?) and convinced many that they are indeed the real deal.
West Virginia is certainly not a one-man team, but if Da'Sean Butler gets in a groove, there's no real lock-down defender the Blue Devils can counter with. Another match-up that will be intriguing to watch is Joe Mazzulla - Jon Scheyer. Mazzulla is a fan favorite, and seems to thrive when the crowd is in his corner. He feeds off emotion. It will be interesting to see how he handles Scheyer, and if Scheyer looks to score first or pass first. If it means getting the streaky Kyle Singler off to a good start, JS will be distributing.
Duke will squeak past the Mountaineers due in large part to a better rotation and players that can simply do more on both ends of the floor. They've morphed in to a physical team, with enough bodies inside, and enough scorers outside to play for their first National Championship since 2001.