Friday, March 30, 2018

Final 4 Picks

Loyola vs. Michigan

How long can the Loyola run last? Do they have another buzzer beater or close win in them? The numbers favor Michigan and pretty heavily for a Final 4 matchup.

Loyola isn’t the first 11-seed to ever make the Final 4 but they’re looking to be the first to win a game there. Betting against them simply because of the numbers or the matchup looks to favor Michigan seems silly after the last two weeks but Michigan is the clear favorite.

This is the bizarro Michigan as I’ve mentioned before. They’re defense first, offense second. It’s not Beilein-like. That’s not to say they don’t run solid offensive sets but they’re not as dynamic as past teams. That’s probably the road to victory for Loyola. Michigan has been pretty average on offense in 3 games of 4. If they play that way, this game should be close. If Michigan plays like they did against Texas A&M, Loyola has not shot.

Michigan has another bugaboo and that’s bad free throw shooting. Will it catch up to them at some point? They’ve dodged it thus far. 

Loyola has one big win in the tournament in margin and the rest have been close, similar to Michigan. The moment shouldn’t shake them. At some point, though, midnight strikes and it strikes tomorrow night.

The Pick: Michigan 61 Loyola 51

Villanova vs. Kansas

A month ago, I’d have said Nova would roll these guys. After Sunday, I’m not sure. That’s not a knock on Nova. Kansas has become a different team. It’s largely sprung from the brilliance of Malik Newman. Devonte’ Graham has been the the heart, Newman has become the muscle. 

If the first game is a bit of a slog, this game could be a track meet in the scoring sense. Both have great offenses and KU is 3rd in the nation in 3pt. shooting and Nova is 15th. Nova seems to have been more prone recently to shooting slumps. Part of that is playing a frenetic West Virginia and defensive minded Texas Tech team. 

Both are fairly similar defensively. Both defend the arc roughly the same. Both have about the same effective fg% defense. Neither team turns it over. Neither team puts the other at the line. My gut tells me, which team makes more of their 3’s wins. Flip a coin.

The Pick: Villanova 79 Kansas 78

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