Prediction: MSU advances to Final Four today
NEW YORK — State News basketball reporters Zach Smith and Matt Sheehan predict MSU’s upcoming game versus UConn in the NCAA Tournament.
MSU is going to the Final Four — or at least they will be.
In my opinion, the game against Virginia was essentially the Elite Eiight matchup.
But with the UConn Huskies in the way of a trip to Dallas, it’s important to focus on the task at hand.
The Spartans winning this game is based on two things: If they can stay out of foul trouble, and if either Gary Haris or Keith Appling can step up and score a boatload of points.
The first will be hard, with both Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright being two of the quickest guards the Spartans will face all season.
They might get a lot of nickel-and-dime handcheck fouls, and they’ll probably attack the rim and hop to get hacked.
The second isn’t as hard just because we’ve seen both Harris and Appling score in the past.
But the way Appling has been playing, he’s not going to be the guy, which bring me to my bold prediction that Travis Trice is the leading scorer in this game.
His three-pointer against Virginia might have been the bucket to seal the deal and push him over the offensive edge.
I think both keys are met and the Spartans roll.
MSU: 75 UConn: 66
It’s about a two and a half hour flight from Detroit to Dallas. Roughly an 18 hour drive from Lansing to Dallas. A 15-day and five-hour walk in that same route, too.
Why am I giving you this information? Well, I thought you would like to know how to get to the Final Four to watch MSU.
Yes, boys and girls, the Spartans will top UConn and head to the Final Four today in Madison Square Garden.
However, don’t expect a blowout — this game will come down to the wire.
Napier, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, will score around 25 points. There is no stopping in, but instead just a faint hope to contain him.
MSU’s defense will shut down his supporting cast inside, but I think UConn will get hot from 3-point range today. Niels Giffey shoots 51.4 percent from deep, and he gets a handful of good looks per game because usually the defense is too preoccupied with everyone else.
Last game Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson were the only Spartans to score more than six points. Those two will bring the ruckus again today, but they won’t be the only ones.
Gary Harris and Travis Trice will each score in double figures, and I see Denzel Valentine having a solid role player game with five assists and seven rebounds.
My random prediction of the game is that Keenan Wetzel will be on SportsCenter tonight for ten seconds doing an awesome dance.
Remember Spartan fans, save the couches — they have feelings too.
MSU: 78 UConn: 75