A pair of regular season conference champions are set to square off in the second semifinal game on Saturday night. Michigan State was the Big 10 regular season and tournament champion this season, and Texas Tech won a share of the Big 12 regular season crown. Both Michigan State and Texas Tech had to pull off impressive upsets in their respective regional final to advance to the Final Four. This might not be the most hyped or exciting Final Four of all time, but there should be a pair of great games, and this one might be the best.
Michigan State got off to a slow start in the NCAA Tournament, but they have been on a roll ever since. The Spartans cruised into the Elite Eight and then did the unthinkable by upsetting top-ranked Duke in the East Regional Final. Michigan State has won nine straight games dating back to the regular season. Texas Tech wasn’t challenged until their West Regional Final victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Red Raiders were able to hold off the number 1 seed, Gonzaga, to come away with a 75-69 victory to advance to this game. Michigan State comes into this matchup as a -2.5 point favorite over Texas Tech.
Texas Tech Winning With Defense
The Texas Tech Red Raiders are one of the top defensive teams in the country in almost every single statistical category. Texas Tech allows just 59.0 points per game this season, which is the third-lowest mark in the country. The Red Raiders don’t put a ton of pressure on opponents, but they hold team to just 36.8 percent shooting from the field. People have tried to solve the Texas Tech defense all season, but it is the main reason that this team is playing in the 2019 Final Four. There is no doubt that Texas Tech will use the same formula to try to pull off another upset against Michigan State.
Even though you won’t hear much about the Texas Tech offense leading up to this game, they do have a stud that will be a future NBA player. Jarrett Culver is one of the best players in the Final Four and leads the Red Raiders with 18.5 points and 3.7 assists per game. Guard Davide Moretti has been a star in this tournament as well and shoots better than 46 percent from the three-point line. The Red Raiders will need to find some offense to win this game.
Spartans Have Plenty of Experience
Michigan State has a huge edge in experience in this game, and that formula has helped them get to the Final Four. The Spartans do play a couple of key freshmen in Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown, but the rest of their team is full of veterans. Even though the Spartans aren’t as good as Texas Tech on defense, they are still tough to score on. Opponents are scoring just 65.2 points per game on Michigan State, and shoot just 37 percent from the floor.
Point guard Cassius Winston is the biggest star for Michigan State this season and is a first-team All American this season. Winston is averaging 19 points and 7.6 assists per game and is one of the best shooters in the country as well. The resurgence of Nick Ward has given the Spartans a huge boost as well, and Matt McQuaid is shooting 42 percent from the three-point line. Michigan State is Cassius Winston’s team, but they have plenty of great role players.
Michigan State Marches On
Even though Texas Tech has the ability to completely shut down an opponent, that won’t work in this game. The Red Raiders just don’t score the ball well enough, and Michigan State will find a way to score on Texas Tech. The Spartans are the deeper and more experienced team, and they will march on to the National Championship Game. Bet the Michigan State Spartans -2.5 over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.