Might as well get this over with now. I’m definitely torn though. As a Michigan graduate, the thought of Michigan State winning and talking copious amounts of crap (which Spartans do even when they lose to U of M, there’s some chromosomal defect among Spartans that make them immune to humility or rational thought, but I digress) annoys me, but it would also net me $600. Not being independently wealthy, I could use that chunk of change. So there’s my moral dilemma. On that note, here we go…
No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 1 North Carolina
On the surface, this should be an easy win for the Tar Heels. Carolina has boatraced through this tourney, winning each and every game by double digits. They embarrassed the Spartans by 35 points in December in Detroit and there’s no real indication that they’ve gotten worse. They can run all day, shoot from the perimeter with Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, have one of the best point guards in the nation in Ty Lawson and have a brawler who can score inside in Tyler Hansbrough – who wasn’t at full strength in December.
However, the Spartans will have a lot more of a home court advantage in Detroit this time than they did in December. They’ll have Goran Suton back and a deeper bench. And they’ll also have confidence, as they’ve already upset Louisville and UConn in their previous two games. Along with the cliche’, tired ‘win one for the struggling state of Michigan’ storyline that the media is thrusting down everyone’s throat and voila, MSU should be a team to be reckoned with.
The Spartans need to win how they did against Louisville, with a slower, half-court tough defensive outlook. If they push the tempo, which they did against UConn, they’ll be run right out of Detroit by the Tar Heels. But Tom Izzo already knows that I’m sure.
So can Michigan State win? Sure, if it controls the glass, keeps the pace deliberate and the Tar Heels allow the Detroit green and white frenzy to get into their heads. But will they win? I say no. Roy Williams is no stranger at winning titles in hostile arenas – he beat Illinois in 2005 in front of a decidedly pro-Illini crowd in St. Louis – and I can’t imagine that UNC will be intimdated by the surroundings. UNC has the most talented team in the field and they won’t be overlooking a Spartan team, despite the earlier blowout, in a game of this magnitude. MSU will keep it relatively close, but too much Carolina in my opinion.
Pick: North Carolina