UConn -4 v. Michigan St.
No lean here.
UConn is pretty highly thought of by the public, but considering Pomeroy currently has them as the best team too, that probably isn’t all that unfair.
Connecticut is the third most efficent defense in the country this season. They do it by a combination of forcing opponents to shoot a low percentage, getting rebounds and not fouling. They are a surprising 336th in forcing turnovers, although Calhoun’s teams seem to frequently be in the 300s in TO%.
On offense, Connecticut excels at getting rebounds and getting fouled. According to Pomeroy, they were the 12th most efficent offense this season.
Michigan St. is a team I thought was highly overrated by the public, but their recent tournament run has boosted them into Pomeroy’s top-10. It’s not like they are a great team, but 4 seems like a reasonable number regardless of what the early consensus is.
The Spartans will have a semi-home game in Detroit. That shouldn’t be too comforting considering they lost by 35 points the only time they played their earlier this season to UNC. Of course, that was without Goran Suton.
Michigan St. boasts the 23rd best offense and 9th best defense, so clearly they are not in UConn’s class. Living up to their reputation the Spartans do well on both the offensive and defensive glass, which makes up for relatively poor e-fg% on both sides of the court.
Pomeroy has this one at 70-65 and I have it as a pass.
UNC -7.5 v. Villanova:
Allow me a paragraph to describe Villanova,
Tough. Tough. Tough. Tougher. Toughness. Tenacity. Tougher. Tough. Toughnessiocity. Toughness. Tough. Tim Tebow. Tough. Tough. Tough.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way, Villanova is the worst team still alive. They have significantly outplayed their Pomeroy projections in each of the last three games in advancing through UCLA, Duke and Pitt.
Villanova is about middle of the pack for effective height, which is surprising for a major conference team. They are the smallest team left. Not much really jumps out to me about Villanova other than that.
UNC on the other hand is starting to play like the team everyone thought they would be. They have just dominated OU and Gonzaga in their last two outings.
Carolina has a reputation for being a great offensive team(true) and a lazy defensive team(not as much). Ranked 18th in Pomeroy, they do a good job of not fouling on defense and are pretty good at limiting how well their opponents shoot.
On offense, their really isn’t much they don’t do well. At 53% e-fg and absurdly low turnover rate and high number of offensive rebounds collected they have the best offense in college hoops getting 1.23 ppp.
In my mind, UNC is clearly the better team here, 8.5 points so? that is pretty borderline. Considering UNC is coming off two high profile dismantlings of good teams, this one is probably a slight pass too.