Like any other workplace, conversations happen throughout TSFJ’s e-mail office. We come from different places with both different and shared interests to bring readers the best quality content. With both the Men’s and Women’s Final Fours getting underway this weekend, we’d like to offer our personal take on he the act. With TSFJ outstanding freshman James Simpson II and Johnathan Tillman, we run down the college basketball games this weekend.
Texas Tech vs. Michigan State. Sat. 30 minutes after Auburn and Virginia conclude.
Johnathan T:: Good morning. Let’s start with Texas Tech versus Michigan State. Who ya got?
James S.: Morning. I’m betting on Sparty in this one, and you can click here to make a wager. I believe the rebounding edge will go in their favorite, as I see Michigan State as the more physical team. Both teams play strong, tough defense but I see the Spartans with just enough shotmakers to get by the Big 12 regular season champions. Who you rolling with?
JT: I think Michigan State wins as well, but Texas Tech has two things going for them. They have the best player on the floor in Jarrett Culver and absolutely stingy defense. Michigan State is going to need a lot from Cassius Winston. And while he has certainly stepped up so far, he has yet to see guards and defensive rotations like this.
JT: Before we go any further, rate your level of care and excitement for the four teams remaining.
JS: Honestly, on a scale from 1-10, my level of excitement is at a 3. Sorry, but this entire season has revolved around Duke and the sight of not seeing them at least in the Final Four guts my interest level. If there was anything, I would have bet my house on this year, it was Zion, RJ and Co. would be in Minneapolis. Also, the one matchup I was craving to see in the Big Dance was a Duke-Gonzaga semifinal rematch of the best regular season game I saw all season. Bummed about that, as well as no UNC or Kentucky.
JT: You don’t have to apologize. I am right there with you. Basketball is about individual stars. And even as we’re in this one-and-done era, coaches still think they’re the stars. So they sell this idea of rooting for programs and such. Individuals will always be captivating. Ja Morant and Carsen Edwards proved that even excluding Duke and their outstanding class. I’ll watch because I love basketball, but I’m not married to it. Plus, college guards make bonehead decisions a lot, which is why good guard play is vital in the Tournament.
Auburn vs. Virginia. Sat. 6:30 pm, Eastern Time.
JT: This brings us to the other game. Auburn versus Virginia. Who takes it?
JS: Can’t argue with you there. I see the first semifinal a little much interesting than the second. It’s widely established that Virginia likes to play slow and prefer to set up in their half-court sets, while Auburn likes to chuck up a ton of threes as well as forcing turnovers at a high rate. So, who controls tempo the most? That’s the central question that will be answered in the game. I see a tight one in the 60s where Virginia prevails. I get the keen sense that this might be there time to win the whole thing. The team that had their number this season (Duke) are no longer playing.
JT: I want Auburn to win just because there is a possibility this magical season will be vacated. Not wishing for that, but I just despise the NCAA and their exploitation of its athletes. But that’s another post. My goodness, Virginia is boring and effective. They are the personification of a constant loop of LaMarcus Aldridge turnaround jumpers. That said, they’re the best team remaining. This matchup embodies all the cliches. “Contrasting styles,” and the like. While Auburn’s Jared Harper isn’t as good as Carsen Edwards, Virginia was proven vulnerable to stellar guard play. The Tigers have two of them. Virginia is just so solid in their principles that they can overcome Auburn and their threes
JS: I hear you there. Any minute the hammer could be dropped on the NCAA, LOL. I like that juxtaposition. Virginia is truly boring but darn, they just find a way like the Purdue game. I’ll be rooting for Auburn because I enjoy the nonstop joy and energy Bruce Pearl brings to every game. He’s been in the game for a while, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him cut down the nets. If Virginia does win this thing, then it would be proof and maybe serve as a blueprint that a team playing their kind of style can win a national championship.
JT: What’s the most likely scenario we get on Monday? What’s the scenario you’d like to see?
JS: So, I have Virginia meeting Michigan State for all the marbles. If that scenario rings true, then that ones a toss-up. Michigan State is desperate to be the first Big Ten team since 2000 to win a national title – when they were the winners. If Virginia wins, they will officially be looked upon on the same level nationally-wise with ACC counterparts Duke and North Carolina. This game will be a true test of wills and physical fortitude but I see Tom Izzo’s squad coming through in a tug-of-war. I’ve long thought that no coach has done more with less over the last 20 years than Izzo and with his second national title, he’ll be officially be welcomed among the all-time great men’s coaches.
JT: Chalk it so boring. I’m going to go with the direct opposite of all that you said, just because I want Bruce Pearl to sweat through his suit again while hosting the championship trophy. Also, Charles Barkley is very likely to do something funny, illegal or funny and illegal if Auburn wins. Shoot, he’s a good prop bet for shenanigans if Auburn loses on Saturday.
JS: Chuck would lose it if Auburn wins it. Interesting enough, a 5-seed has never won it all. I definitely think Auburn taking it would produce the best stories.
So that was our take ,at whatever temperature it is or becomes ,on the Men’s Final Four. May it produce great games and Charles Barkley shenanigans.
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