Half of next weekend's Final Four field is set after yesterday's thrilling action -- Kentucky and Wisconsin will be squaring off in a battle of the nation's top offense and the nation's top defense. That should be a hell of a match-up... but that's for next week. For today, we're worried about the other half of the bracket -- one of these four teams will emerge from the right side of the bracket to take on the winner of Kentucky-Wisconsin in the championship game a little over a week from now.
The early game pits the survivors of UPSETMANIA in the East region, #4 Louisville and #7 Michigan State. Despite their lower seed, the Spartans are favored by Vegas (-2.5) and very slightly by KenPom (51%). Like dozens of other Izzo teams of yore, they're playing their best basketball of the season in late March, when it matters the most. Pitino-coached teams are typically no slouch in late March, either, though, so this one is as tough to call as the oddsmakers and KenPom suggest.
The late game of the day isn't much easier to call -- #1 seed Duke is a 2-point favorite per Vegas and a mild KenPom favorite (54%) over #2 seed Gonzaga. If MSU-Louisville is a low-scoring, mostly defensive grind (which is very possible), then Duke-Gonzaga could easily be the exact opposite: a high-powered, fast-paced scoring binge. Duke has the 3rd most efficient offense in the country, while Gonzaga has the 4th most efficient offense in the country. Neither team is a speed demon in terms of pace (Duke is 109th, Gonzaga is 137th), but both teams are comfortable in an up-and-down game with plenty of scoring, too. This could be fun.
|#4 Louisville||VS||#7 Michigan State||MSU -2.5||CBS||1:20 PM|
|#1 Duke||VS||#2 Gonzaga||DUKE -2||CBS||4:05 PM|
If you're not near a TV, you can stream the games through March Madness Live.
The usual rules apply.