Final Four Picks
by Badger of Predictem.com
Now that the 2010 NCAA mens basketball tournament is down to the Final
Four teams, lets take a look at Saturdays semifinal matchups set to
tip off at 3 pm EST in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, with a few
predictions on the championship game/futures.
Duke Blue Devils vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Point Spread: Duke -2.5
Over/Under Total: 131
The opening game on Saturday is going to feature a plethora of freakish length, speed, skill and shooting range when Duke takes on
West Virginia. Both teams like to impose their will with on-ball
pressure on defense, so which ever team is really able to win that
battle will be worthy of a title chance.
It will also be interesting to watch who Mountaineers coach Bob
Huggins decides to have Devin Ebanks guard, Dukes top scorer Kyle
Singler or their top scorer in the tourney so far, John Scheyer. Or
does he put him on Nolan Smith, who led the Blue Devils with 29
points Sunday against Baylor.
Either way, the point is the Blue Devils certainly have enough options with their dribble-drive offense. The Mountaineers will have
a week to prepare for it, so I expect Huggins and his staff to have
something to counter utilizing the Mountaineers size and length on
defense like a 1-3-1 zone. Likewise, I fully expect Duke to see
exactly how well new point guard Joe Mazzulla handles the ball when
West Virginia has the rock with waves of pressure and different looks.
Bottom line is this game will come down to perimeter scoring, and in
a shooting contest, I guess I have to side with Duke as much as it
pains me. Duke also shoots 76 percent as a team from the free-throw
line (W.Va. 70.3%), so they get the edge at closing time too.
Badger’s Pick: Take Duke minus -2.5 in a game that will go over the 131 total.
Best Props: Double Result – West Virginia-Duke If youre a believer that Duke wins in the end, but
starts out cold shooting in the first half and needs to come back in
the second half, Id say that 4-to-1 on your money isnt a bad wager.
Butler Bulldogs vs. Michigan State Spartans
Point Spread: Butler -1
Over/Under Total: 126
With wins over UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse and Kansas State you can
put to rest any talk of Butler being Cinderella at the Final Four,
because their resume speaks for itself. If any team is suspect in
this matchup it could be the Spartans, who have been sparked by the
sudden star-like play of Durrell Summers and Korie Lucious.
Theres no doubt about it, this game will be a street fight. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo will have his boys ready to brawl in the paint
for rebounds, and the Bulldogs ability to withstand the banging and
stay out of foul trouble will be key. Izzo might go right at Butlers
Gordon Hayward and try and get him in trouble early.
Otherwise, it is actually Butler that plays more impressive on-ball
defense and both Summers and Lucious are streaky when their shots are
contested, something the Bulldogs do exceptionally well. Butler will
have to hit their perimeter shots early to make Michigan State play
from behind, negating some of their inside strength.
Michigan State has somehow found a way to win each game, and
theyll continue to find a way to win this game too. Take Michigan
State and the point.
If you follow the script that Izzo and Michigan State find a way to
win, then a small wager on the Sparty as the true underdogs of the
Final Four is a worthy long shot bet.