Texas Tech (30-6) vs Michigan State (32-6)
When: Saturday, April 6th, 2019
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium,
Time: 8:49 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Michigan State -2/134
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The most experienced program in this year’s Final Four will take the court in the second game of the National Semifinals Saturday night as the Michigan State Spartans battle the defensive-minded Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Spartans are making their eighth Final Four appearance under head coach Tom Izzo by rolling past Bradley, Minnesota, and LSU, then gutting out a one-point thriller over No. 1 seeded Duke in the Elite Eight. Michigan State has won nine in a row overall (7-2 ATS) and are 17-5 away from home including 9-1 on a neutral floor. The Spartans are clearly led by junior point guard Cassius Winston, who tops the team in scoring (18.9 points) and assists (7.6), but more importantly, doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, which will be key against a ferocious Red Raiders defense. Texas Tech comes into the Final Four for the very first time and brings with them the third-best scoring defense (59.0) and second-best defensive field goal percentage (36.9) in the nation. They held two of the highest scoring offenses in the country to well below their average in Buffalo and Gonzaga, and also held Michigan to just 44 points in a dominating Sweet 16 triumph. The winner will get either Auburn or Virginia in Monday night’s Championship Game.
Texas Tech’s offense is pretty efficient, ranking 46th in the country in field goal percentage (47.1) and 69th in 3-pointers (36.5 percent) and are led by sophomore guard Jarrett Culver. The Big 12 Player of the Year leads the Red Raiders in scoring (18.9 points), rebounding (6.4) and assists (3.8). Fellow guard Davide Moretti (11.6 points, 69 3-pointers) can also contribute offensively and has double figures in his last 11 games after topping that mark only 13 times in the team’s first 25 games. Texas Tech has a disadvantage on the boards, averaging just 34.2 compared to Michigan State’s 40.6. Guard Matt Mooney leads the team with 67 steals and has 12 in the this year’s tournament.
Michigan State also gets scoring from their outside shooting in the form of seniors Matt McQuaid (9.8 points, 70 3-pointers) and Kenny Goins (8.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 56 3-pointers), who have each stepped up their game during the tournament. Freshman forward Aaron Henry entered the tournament averaging just 5.4 points a game, but has upped that to 10.2 in the last five games and dished out 10 assists in the wins over LSU and Duke. Forward Xavier Tillman moved into the starting lineup 12 games ago and is averaging 13.8 points and 8.1 rebounds, while scoring a career-high 19 points twice.
I really love this matchup between two well-coached teams. Texas Tech has a better offense than people give credit for, but Izzo will have a good game plan for it. Winston is one of those players who can rise up and lead his team to the top, and I think that’s exactly what he will do once again. Spartans win a low-scoring affair.
Pick: Michigan State -2.5
Red Raiders are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 NCAA Tournament games.
Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
Red Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
Red Raiders are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big Ten.
Red Raiders are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Red Raiders are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Red Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
Red Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
Red Raiders are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
Spartans are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games.
Spartans are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Spartans are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight up win.
Spartans are 26-9 ATS in their last 35 games overall.
Spartans are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games following a ATS win.
Spartans are 38-18-2 ATS in their last 58 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 4-1 in Red Raiders last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Over is 16-5 in Red Raiders last 21 Saturday games.
Under is 19-8 in Red Raiders last 27 neutral site games.
Over is 7-3 in Red Raiders last 10 games following a straight up win.
Under is 46-22-1 in Red Raiders last 69 non-conference games.
Under is 5-1 in Spartans last 6 overall.
Under is 5-1 in Spartans last 6 neutral site games.
Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 Saturday games.
Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 NCAA Tournament games.
Under is 20-7-1 in Spartans last 28 games following a ATS win.
Under is 28-10-1 in Spartans last 39 games following a straight up win.
Under is 19-7-1 in Spartans last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 5-2 in Spartans last 7 vs. Big 12.