PJ's Predictions: Final Four, East & West

April 8, 2019

 

     The weekend of the Elite Eight for the East and West Regions, have been wild, from tough upsets to teams showing how great they are. However, teams are just grateful to have the opportunity to be in the Final Four and have a chance to be National Champions. Both teams from the East and West Regions, exceeded expectations and will be competing in the Final Four.

     Texas Tech struggled in the regular season, but have proven to be a top team in the tournament. They blew out Northern Kentucky in the first round with ease to move on to the second round. In the second round, they faced the six seeded Buffalo. In the first half, Buffalo played decently, but for a long period of time in the second half, Texas Tech locked down Buffalo’s offense and did not score many shots in the second half. Texas Tech would go on to blow out Buffalo by twenty and move on to the Sweet Sixteen. In the Sweet Sixteen, they faced a veteran Michigan team. They played great against Michigan, locking up their offense and putting points on the board, and will face Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. Texas Tech, in the Elite Eight, knocked off the one seeded Gonzaga, the only team to hold their offense to under seventy points. This proved that Texas Tech is a top team and send them to the Final Four to play against Michigan State.

     Michigan State is a very underrated team, they played great in the regular season and won the Big Ten Championship. The combination of experience and skill has gotten them to the Final Four. The Big Ten player of the year, Cassius Winston has played great and some would say has carried Michigan to the Final Four. They started off the tournament with an eleven point victory over Bradley, a team with a  Cinderella story. In the second round, they would face Minnesota, an underrated team who has beaten Purdue twice this year. They played great against them, dominating and beating them by twenty. This would send them to the Sweet Sixteen to play LSU, still without their head coach. Then they get the job done, blowing them out by seventeen points.

     Michigan's final matchup would be in the Elite Eight against the number one overall Duke. Many believed Duke would get the job done due, but Michigan State outplayed Duke with their tactics. Duke had a one-point lead with under a minute to go, then Coach Izzo called a timeout and set up a play that confused the defense. It was a simple screen and hand off play that made Tre Jones and Zion Williamson both go to cover the screen man, leaving Goins wide open. Goins knocked down the three and put them up by two. Zion Williamson took the next possession and drew attention, leaving RJ Barrett wide open, however, he missed it leaving around eight seconds left with Duke’s possession after Michigan State went out of bounds. Coach K would then set up a play that allowed RJ Barrett to go to the free throw line, however, he missed the first and Michigan State would pull off the crazy upset. This win knocked off the favorite of the tournament, Duke,  and allowed Michigan State to move on to play Texas Tech in the Final Four.

     The second matchup of the Final Four is Texas Tech, a three seed, and Michigan State, a two seed. Michigan State and Texas Tech are two underrated teams, but both teams knocked off one seeds. Michigan State knocked off Duke, led by Cassius Winston and Texas Tech knocked off Gonzaga led by their lethal defense. Texas Tech plays great team basketball and has an amazing defense, but they will have to stop Cassius Winston, who had twenty points and ten assists in their win. Michigan State will need to play great defense and put points on the board, however, they will have to deal with Texas Tech’s defense. With two top defenses, these teams are alike and play a similar style, their difference is Cassius Winston. He is known as one of the top point guards in the country and is possibly the best. He will lead Michigan State by scoring and distributing to continue their amazing run and send them to the National Championship.

 

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