And then on to the Final Four
> Michigan State (+2) over Duke
Duke as been winning in this tournament with smoke and mirrors. That’s all going to end on Sunday. Not only do I think Michigan State will win outright, I will take great joy in watching it.
> Michigan State (+2) Duke
Last round, Michigan State laying (6.5) over LSU, which was a 17-point win, was my one play to make hay in the Sweet 16. It wasn’t about trends, but coaches, which was an easy take with Tom Izzo on the bench over LSU’s interim coach since Will Wade was suspended. Meanwhile, Duke barely escaped as a 13.5 favorite over Central Florida and didn’t cover against Virginia Tech as a 7-point favorite when taps rolled out at the buzzer in both games. Had been thinking Zion Williams and his freshmen classmates might already be looking at the NBA, but Z playing like a senior wanting to leave a legacy. RJ Barrett is a mismatch offensively with his size as a point guard, but have to be concerned about Cam Reddish, who DNP against Hokies. Sparty runs the best half court sets in tourney and can push the ball for easy baskets so will be able to score against Dookies. But Zion won’t be able to bully Michigan State in his wheelhouse.
> Kentucky (-4.5) Auburn
Kentucky escaped covering three-point spread over Houston with late four-point win when Tyler Herro hit trey with 25.8 left for lead and then two free throws to cover after Cougars 17-6 run while Auburn was getting 5.5 points against North Carolina and rolled by 17. Auburn shot over the top against Heels. ND coach Mike Brey said Tigers needed to make 14-15 treys and they drained 12 of 18 in second half – stunning – and 18 overall. Banking on Auburn not staying hot – law of percentages – and just not that good of a three-point shooting team even though the Tigers shot 43 percent against Kansas in second round win. Also like how Wildcats P.J. Washington is packing meaning into the tourney for teammates playing 26 minutes and delivering 16 points with foot injury after not playing in wins over Abilene Christian and Wofford. The Wildcats beat Auburn, 80-53, in late February in Lexington and since then, the Tigers have two wins over Tennessee and wins over Kansas and now North Carolina. Cats also won, 82-80, at Auburn in January. Although Tigers take the nation’s longest winning streak at 11, but Auburn is without Chuma Okeke after sophomore had 20 and 11 in 25 minutes against the Heels and so the lowest remaining seed won’t be going to program’s first Final Four. Sure its hard to beat a team three times in one year – but not if you’re the better team.