Prediction: MSU's season ends tonight
NEW YORK — State News basketball reporters Zach Smith and Matt Sheehan predict the outcome of tonight’s MSU-Virginia NCAA Tournament matchup.
This is a game of matchups, and if the Spartans play like they have for the majority of the tournament, it doesn’t play out well.
Adreian Payne against Akil Mitchell and Gary Harris against Joe Harris. Plus, the uncertain play of Denzel Valentine and Keith Appling the last couple months.
Chances are good that someone’s going to get in foul trouble putting the Spartans in a pickle.
On the other hand, if the Spartans play like a full team, this game matches up really well for MSU.
The X-factor is again going to be Branden Dawson. Virginia doesn’t have that type of player with his mix of athleticism and talent.
Not saying Harvard is the same team as Virginia, but we all saw what difference he made in the first half against the Crimson.
This is going to be a boring, slowed down game, and we’ll be lucky to see 100 points scored between the two teams.
MSU’s season comes to an end.
Virginia: 58 MSU: 48
Spartan fans, prepare to be sad tonight.
And yes, that means I’m predicting an MSU loss tonight, thus closing the chapter on a season and ending the careers of two great seniors.
Sorry, but Virginia is simply a bad matchup for the Spartans.
In my opinion, the Cavaliers come into this game as the second best team in the nation behind Florida. Their defense is the best in the nation, they all are 6-foot-5 or taller (minus starting guard London Parrantes) and they play a physical game.
I would say without a question this is the best team MSU will face all season.
The Spartans will get more than a handful of 3-point shots, as Virginia likes to double team inside.
That means Gary Harris and Travis Trice will have to nail a handful of looks for the Spartans to even have a chance.
MSU has also had foul trouble the last two games, but Virginia doesn’t play the style Delaware and Harvard do, so that will also help the green and white.
But again, this match up favors Virginia. The patience on offense, the ball movement and the unselfishness all work in their favor, and will more than likely wear down MSU’s defense.
MSU will have to play perfect to have a fighting chance, but I see Virginia’s defense being too tight to give MSU enough points to take home the victory.
Virginia: 65 MSU: 58