Sorry for the weird schedule lately. Soon, after the tournament, we will go back to regularly scheduled programming. So on Fridays, I'll post my "professional" articles (Funny Fridays sounds lame) and write about more than MSU Basketball. But here is my preview for the Final Four Matchup between the Michigan State Spartans and Butler Bulldogs.
Michigan State comes into this on a hotter streak than any Spartan team in recent memory. Usually, the Spartans are a little more favored in their games. But after backing into the Final Four versus lower seeds, the Spartans find themselves in Indianapolis. Cinderella/underdogs/fan favorites/media darlings Butler takes the court being only 7 miles from home. Butler has a legit big man and shoots the ball well, a perfect recipe for a winning mid major program.
Butler shoots 34.3% from 3 point land. MSU shoots 34%. So Butler isn't a great three point shooting team, because MSU isn't right? Butler takes a lot more threes than MSU, misses many and only makes .3% more. So if MSU can rebound (which is Izzo's bread and butter) and use their size to out-physical Butler.
Gordon Hayward is 6'8'' and averages 15.1 PPG (points per game) and 29.5% from 3. He is a NBA prospect but gets into foul trouble often. If MSU can abuse him down low with a tandem of Roe and Nix (maybe a little Draymond as well) and get him in foul trouble, MSU could do themselves a lot of good. Butler can not win without Hayward. Hopefully Chris Allen is healthy enough to defend Shelvin Mack, who shoots 38.6% from three and averages 14.1 PPG. Lucious needs to keep playing like he has been and not lose focus like he does (3 turnovers in 4 possessions against Tennessee) and distribute the ball to the big man, who have to show up. Raymar had a great game against Tennessee, and he needs to keep that up. He can be even bigger than he was last weekend. Also, with this nice weather, it needs to be Summer Time.
The team is healthier than last week. Its a marathon now. Izzo has proven he is the best coach in the nation after losing Kalin Lucas. I don't care the game is in Indianapolis. UNI had a huge home field advantage and State still beat them. MSU will not be scared to play here or be in the Final Four. They are experienced and smart. Butler sure isn't used to this. Butler does play Big Ten defense. Their coach Brad Stevens is staying up well past his bedtime to coach this game.
I am going to go out on a limb. Nobody has said MSU will win big. I will. I see this being 10+ during the last ten minutes and MSU takes over. Their size is too much and Butler will be forced to shoot from deep. Izzo has had one week to prepare for this, and his team is better and healthier than ever.
MSU 65 Butler 54