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Final 4 breakdown

April 2, 2009

And then there were four: Michigan State, Uconn, UNC, and Villanova are the survivors left in a pool of 64.  UNC, and Uconn were expected to get this far, but Michigan State and Villanova both crashed the final four party with wins over number one seeds, Louisville, and Pittsburgh.  Looking ahead to this weekend, Michigan State hosts Uconn, as they square off in Detroit.  The Spartans picked Louisville apart on Sunday, and the thought of playing at home in the final four definitely was added motivation.

Uconn vs Michigan State:  This is an intriguing matchup, as Uconn has a lot more individual talent, but as a unit these teams are as close as they come.  Tom Izzo and Jim Calhoun square off for only the third time in their illustrious coaching careers.  They split their only two meetings, and the winner of each matchup went on to win the national championship.

Uconn wins this game if:  Haseem Thabeet is able to penetrate around the rim.  Staying out of foul trouble early, and allowing Stanley Robinson the space to use his athleticism around the basket.  AJ Price does what he has all tournament, and Jeff Adrien adds a double doubel.

Uconn loses if:  Thabeet is taken away from the basket due to Goron Suton having a hot shooting touch from outside the arc.  Suton has played great all tournament, and this matchup could dictate the game.  Stanley Robinson goes back to his inconsistent ways, and is a non factor in the game thanks to solid defense in the interior by Marquise Gray, and Delvon Roe

Michigan State wins if:  Kailin Lucas dictates the game and plays essentially the same way he did against Louisville.  Uconn won’t put on the press as much as Louisville, but they have athletic defenders that are quick.  Suton continues his great inside outside game, and lights it up for 20 and 10.  Raymar Morgan goes back to midseason form and gives the Spartans a third wheel to counter the Huskies attack.

Michigan State loses if:  AJ Price dominates Kailin Lucas, and the Huskies go up by 10 early and never look back.  Suton must remain out of foul trouble, and Michigan State has to be hitting their jumpers.  If Morgan disappears like he has done frequently as of late, it could be a long day in front of the home crowd.

UNC vs Villanova: Villanova has arguably played the most consistent basketball throughout this tournament.  With a blowout victory against UCLA, and an epic takedown of Pittsburgh, the Wildcats are battle tested, and face their toughest challenge thus far.  Coming into the tournament Ty Lawson’s toe was the biggest concern revolving around UNC.  Now the talk revolves around how he has taken control of this tournament, and how the Tar Heels are the distinct favorites.

UNC wins if:  Ty Lawson sets the tempo of the game like he has all tournament.  Allowing Danny Green and Wayne Ellington to find wide open 3 point jumpers.  Ed Davis has to continue his strong play down low, and Tyler Hansbrough has to be Tyler Hansbrough.  If UNC plays their game, which is up and down fast tempo basketball, they will win.

UNC loses if:  Ty Lawson is contained by the Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher duo.  The tempo goes in Villanova’s favor by becoming slow tempo half court, and Villanova’s aggressive style gets UNC’s big men in foul trouble.  Hansbrough has 3 fouls by the end of the first half, and Ty Lawson’s toe begins to act up at halftime.

Villanova wins if: They go nearly perfect again from the free throw line, remain aggressive and selective with their shot selection.  Defense must be stellar, and Reynonds, Cunningham, and Fisher must all be on their A games.  Remaining as a cohesive unit is a must, as UNC’s best game might be too good for the Wildcat’s best.

Villanova loses if: Ty Lawson causes Reynolds to get in early foul trouble. Dante Cunningham is forced to push the ball and Danny Green and Wayne Ellington pick him apart.  UNC is up 12 at half and win by 18 as Tar Heel nation goes to its second national championship game in four years.

Mikeyrolls

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