Apr 06, 2019 03:36 PM EDT
March Madness: Final Four Predictions
The 2019 Final Four is finally here!
Just one No. 1 seed remains and that team is not the Duke Blue Devils. We are left with the Virginia Cavaliers, the Michigan State Spartans, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and the Auburn Tigers.
Let's have a look at the matchups between Auburn and Virginia and Michigan State and Texas Tech and compare the odds. If you plan on placing any action on the games, be sure to check this sportsbetting.ag review to see if they are the NCAAB book for you.
This will be the first Final Four game in Auburn school history. For the Cavaliers, this is their 3rd appearance.
The more you look at this game, the more interesting it becomes. In a lot of ways, Auburn is an unexpected guest on the Final Four dance floor. But they didn't make it here through a cake walk. The took down a tough Kentucky squad in overtime during Elite Eight play.
This matchup is a classic case of offense vs. defense. The Auburn Tigers have poured on 79.6 points per game, while Virginia has only allowed 55.4 points per game. That said, the Cavs are not complete slouches on the offensive side of the ball. They average 71.3 points per game, which falls right in line with the Tigers 69.3 points per game allowed.
Virginia was tested by both Oregon and Purdue. Oregon may have well won the game and advanced if they hadn't lived and died by the three during the finals minutes of play. Purdue took the Cavs into OT ... so they are by no means invincible. One thing that Auburn doesn't have that Oregon does is their ability to communicate switches and play great transition defense. The Ducks were allowing just 54 points per game when they met with the Cavs and managed to hold them to just 53. I do not see Auburn doing that. But Virginia showed weakness to Purdue's long-range scoring ability the other night. Auburn shoots better and more often from behind the arc, so there is a good chance that they can give Virginia some trouble.
With that said, this isn't the Cavs' standard operating procedure. They are a great defensive team, leading the NCAA in points allowed and 3rd in opponent percentage beyond the arc. So, we are likely going to see some defensive adjustments after the game against the Boilermakers where the Cavs will button down with their perimeter D.
The Spread is at 5.5 points, in favor of Virginia. And that line is perfect, this could easily be a five or six-point game. That said, Virginia's defense is better than anything that the Tigers have faced and it will be too much.
Throw the Cavaliers in your Bracket to advance to the Finals.
It's another Final Four first. The Texas Tech Red Raiders did the unthinkable (for most) and gouged their way past the Zags on March 30th. Prior to that, they embarrassed Michigan with a fluid offense that made it look too easy.
The Red Raiders have been listed as three-point underdogs against the Michigan State Spartans. Which makes sense even just based on coaching experience. Tom Izzo now has eight Final Four appearances.
The Spartans have a juggernaut offense, scoring 78.26 per game. This goes against the Red Raiders 72.97 per game. But Texas Tech has the 3rd best defense, allowing just 59.03 points per game, going against the Spartans' middling 65.08. So, the Spartans have a little over a five-point advantage on offense, but the Red Raiders are about six points better on defense. This has overtime written all over it.
Duke was projected by everyone to win it all this year. Beyond the pundits, all of the statistical analysis and algorithms showed that Duke was unstoppable, but Sparty proved them all wrong.
This is going to be a battle to the very end. I can see this one coming down to just a point or two. The Red Raiders have a legitimate shot at beating Michigan State, but with the Spartans taking down Duke, it feels like they may be poised for a national title.
Sparty finds a way to win ... just barely.
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