Sunday, March 30, 2014
Connecticut vs. Michigan State Breakdown & Prediction
Time: 2:20PM ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Records: Connecticut 29-8; Michigan State 29-8
Connecticut stat leaders: Points – Shabazz Napier (17.9 ppg); Rebounds – Napier (5.9 rpg); Assists – Napier (4.9 apg); Steals – Napier (1.8 spg).
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Garry Harris (16.6 ppg); Rebounds – Branden Dawson (8.3 rpg); Assists – Keith Appling (4.5 apg); Steals – Harris (1.9 spg).
Current Streaks: Connecticut W3, Michigan State W6
Point Spread: Michigan State -5.5
Prediction: I like the Spartans in this one because MSU has the capability to slow down Napier with a concentrated defensive effort. I am sure most teams focus on Napier, but MSU actually has the athletes and depth to carry out the game plan. DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright can cause problems, but MSU should take the risk of having those two beat them as opposed to Napier. Napier is aggressive, but that just means that the Spartans need to make him earn his points. Give him a hard foul when he attacks or make him spend energy when dribbling around the perimeter. Tom Izzo is an old school coach and I am sure he is going to have a plan to slowly tire Napier out with physicality and energy. Offensively, Michigan State will feel be very happy to not see Virginia again on the other side, which should open up the offense. Transition opportunities will be there and I suspect Gary Harris will have a big game coming off a quite performance against Virginia. The reason State has been successful as of late is because of the play of Dawson and Payne, but today I see the game going to Harris. The Spartans just have more offensive weapons than UConn and I think that is the difference in the game. Michigan State 73, Connecticut 65