March Madness by the Numbers: Elite Eight

Jason Paglia

Saturday, March 30, 2019 8:33 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019 8:33 PM UTC

We are down to the Elite Eight. Come Sunday night there will be Four teams remaining, playing for the right to win the NCAA National Championship.

<p>Of the two games being played Sunday, I believe the value lies in the Duke / Michigan State game. Both teams came into the tournament rolling. Duke won the ACC Conference Tournament Championship and Michigan State won both the BIG Ten regular season Conference Championship and Conference Tournament Championship. In addition to how well these teams match-up, you can’t ask for two better Hall of Fame coaches to go head to head then Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo. This one could be a classic. Let’s break it down by the numbers.</p><p> </p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>DUKE (29-5) vs MICHIGAN STATE (30-6)</strong></a></p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="" style="width:600px;height:327px" /></p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src=" " style="width:600px;height:400px" /></p><p>If we were basing this line on how well these teams have played in the tournament, the wrong team is favored. There’s an argument to be made that if we were basing this line on how well these teams played the entire regular season, then the wrong team is still favored.</p><p>I like Michigan State in this game, they have looked phenomenal in this tournament. In the last two rounds they beat Minnesota by twenty and got through the Sweet Sixteen against a very game LSU squad by seventeen points. More importantly, they looked good doing it.</p><p>Cassius Winston ran the offense like a glove, he got everyone involved in the offense with 8 assists and took the game over when needed scoring 17 points. Aside from the fact that I think MSU matches up well against the big 3 for Duke, the experience factor can not be over looked.</p><p>Even with the loss of Josh Langford, MSU rotates in 3 juniors and 2 seniors in and out of the line-up. This team has been playing together for three years now. Say what you will about how talented these freshman are for Duke, but they are exactly that…..freshman. In the last two rounds both Virginia Tech and Central Florida had shots roll off the rim in the last second of the game to advance and send Duke home. Why? Because Duke is a young team that struggles to close games out. Michigan State will be the toughest opponent they have faced thus far in the tournament. A team that knows how to finish their opponent in high pressure situations when the chips are down.</p><p>Can we really say the same for Duke, even though they have advanced to the Elite Eight? Not when a bounce or two off the rim should have sent them home twice already in the last week. I have to side with the experience here and grab the points.</p><h2 style="text-align:center">THE PICK – Michigan State +1.5 to win at 10/11 (1.90)</h2><p> </p>
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