Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament draw for MSU & Michigan

Well it is March and Michigan State is looking primed for another tournament run.
We finally saw the Michigan State team we had been looking for all season this weekend in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Spartans looked like one of the best teams in the nation in Indy. They played with energy and aggression and used their talent to overwhelm opponents on both sides of the ball. The used their defense to play into their offense and were looking unbeatable.
Now the key is for MSU to take that into the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State is the No. 4 seed in the East and Michigan ends up the No. 2 seed in the MidWest. Despite the better seed, I think most will agree Michigan has the tougher draw.
The MidWest is an absolute bear. Wichita State is the top seed an undefeated. Kentucky is arguably the most talented 8 seed in NCAA Tournament history. Duke is the 3 seed and Louisville is the 4 seed. I personally think Louisville is right there with Michigan State in terms of teams that look the best entering the tournament.
I can see Michigan making it to the Sweet 16. Wofford should be a win and I don’t feel like Texas and Arizona State can match Michigan’s scoring.
However, it is going to be an awfully tough road from there. The Wolverines can beat anyone, but they will have to shoot well. In this region, that might not even get it done.
Michigan needs to show an improved effort on defense if it is going to reach the Final Four. The Wolverines have to be more than a hot-shooting team. It has to be able to defend and grind out wins against top teams if it is going to make a run. I don’t know that Michigan can do that.
The Wolverines were more than a 3-point assault during last year’s run as Mitch McGary emerged. Without someone like him to score in the paint, I am not sure they can get the job done this year.
On the flip side, Michigan State has a pretty favorable draw in my opinion as the 4 seed in the East.
The Spartans open with Delaware and then would face a respectable Cincinnati squad as the 5 seed. I think the Bearcats are good, but State just has the athletes.
Of all the No. 1 seeds, Virginia looks to be the weakest and it is a lot to ask of the Cavaliers to beat Michigan State at its best in March.
The one team that could keep MSU from reaching the Final Four is Iowa State as the No. 3 seed. The two wouldn’t meet until the Elite Eight, but I think the Cyclones are also one of the hottest teams entering the tournament.

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