By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on March 26, 2014
After some highly entertaining games, the first weekend of the NCAA tournament came to a close. Let’s focus on the Michigan State and Virginia Sweet 16 matchup. Virginia won the regular season title and ACC tournament. Michigan State endured a slew of injuries to key players during the season, but it got healthy and won the Big 10 tournament. So, without trying to jinx the Spartans and their fans, here are five reasons Michigan State will win.
Every four-year senior Tom Izzo has coached has made it to the Final Four. Every single one, except Adreian Payne and Keith Appling. History is on the Spartans' side. Plus, having two seniors as leaders at this time of year can only benefit Michigan State. And, we haven’t even mentioned sophomore guard Gary Harris and junior guard/forward Branden Dawson who are fantastic talents.
Virginia did beat Duke (No. 7 at the time) and Syracuse (No. 4 at the time), but they also lost to Wisconsin (No. 8 at the time), VCU (No. 14 at the time) and their first game against Duke (No. 23 at the time). Duke and Syracuse were overrated much of the season. Michigan State is healthy now and its talent is flat out better than any team Virginia has faced this season.
Payne is a 6-foot-10, 245 pound senior forward for the Spartans. Over the season Payne has averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. While Adreian is not the most important Spartan (that will be the guy listed a No. 2), he may be the most difficult player for the Cavaliers to stop. Did you see him go off for 41 against Delaware on Thursday? Payne can play from anywhere on the floor.
Keith is a 6-foot-1, 185 pound senior guard for Michigan State. Appling has averaged 11.7 points, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game this season. Having a really good senior guard play in the NCAA tournament will help Michigan State immensely.
No disrespect to Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, who has done a great job this season with the Cavaliers, but few college basketball coaches, if any, are better than Spartans head coach Tom Izzo. There’s a simple reason Izzo has lasted so long at Michigan State—he wins.
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