Final Four 2019 picks: Why Michigan State, Virginia are safe bets against the spread

first_imgSometimes experience matters the most when it comes down to it, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo brings much more of that than anyone else in the Final Four. Even though the Red Raiders possess the most efficient defense in the country, the Spartans are also stout defensively and have been the much better team on the offensive end. When it’s all said and done, Winston should push the Spartans to the championship game and help them cover, although this game should still be a thrilling one. (Spreads via VegasInsider) MORE: Which Final Four school should you root for?Each of the four teams are deserving in their own right, but you know how it goes: only two will prevail come Saturday. If the games are anything like the Elite Eight contests, we should be in for a treat.The constant unpredictability of basketball make for a difficult task to pick games against the spread, but why not give it the old college try?Virginia (-5) vs. AuburnPrediction: Virginia will coverI picked against Auburn in the Sweet 16, and whiffed on that badly. But that’s not going to stop me here. The Tigers’ run has been impressive, without a doubt. They are the first team to beat Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky in consecutive games in the same NCAA Tournament. But this seems like the place where their luck runs out. Yes, they were able to beat the Wildcats despite Chuma Okeke’s ACL injury and a poor team shooting effort. It simply comes down to Virginia being a better team. The Cavaliers barely escaped Purdue, but still played their signature strong defense in spite of Carsen Edwards’ 42-point effort, which was more of a testament to Edwards’ superhuman shooting ability rather than Virginia’s inability to guard him.MORE: Virginia vs. Auburn by the numbersKyle Guy seems back on track after a tough start to the tournament. Ty Jerome looks like his usually steady self at point guard. Future lottery pick De’Andre Hunter is bound to heat up after scoring only 31 points in his last three games. And in maybe the biggest revelation of all, Mamadi Diakite is starting to become the big man that Virginia badly needs. Auburn has been great the entire month of March, but their inconsistency and the loss of Okeke is concerning. Virginia is just too good. It covers and plays for a national championship. The Tigers have already overcome the odds three times in tournament though, so would it really be surprising if they pull off another win?Michigan State (-2.5) vs. Texas TechPrediction: Michigan State will coverOne might think that because Michigan State beat Duke, it can beat anyone, and one might not be wrong about that. After seeming like an improbability for the Final Four due to the roadblock presented by the Blue Devils, the Spartans may now be the favorite in Minneapolis.Although Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver is the best NBA Draft prospect in the Final Four, Spartans point guard Cassius Winston may be the better overall collegiate player. He has constantly willed Michigan State to win after win, and starters Xavier Tillman and Aaron Henry rounding into form has proven crucial.MORE: Michigan State vs. Texas Tech by the numbersAll things considered, the Spartans’ starting lineup has the slight edge on the Red Raiders.  Let’s face it: Your bracket is busted.Of all the possible Final Four combinations, Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech wasn’t exactly a popular one. The whole bracket aspect of March Madness is essentially wiped out for 2019, and the hope is just for an entertaining final three games. last_img

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