Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Let me start out as the author by saying that I bet on both Auburn and Texas Tech. Prefacing this blog that I want both of those teams to win for two reasons:
1) I have a vesting interest in their success
2) I'm not a Neo-Nazi who roots for athletes from Charlottesville, VA
3) I don't support sexual assault perpetrators like Larry Nassir
Seriously if you are rooting for Michigan State or Virginia then you are a tool. Here's a more technical breakdown of the teams:
Why Auburn should win it all:
Guards Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are two of the top 4 guards left in this tournament. It often comes down to guard play in March and I would be happy if I was Bruce Pearl trotting out this pair. Brown can make big shots from anywhere on the floor and you'd be hard pressed to find someone not named Carlin Isles or Usain Bolt that can keep up with Jared Harper's speed and quickness. Add in their underdog mentality and toughness and I don't see them going down easily to a prissy UVA squad.
Why Texas Tech should win it all:
Jarret Culver is one of the other top 4 guards still playing basketball in April. He is a one man wrecking crew and is liable to go off for 30 on any given night. They are one of the few teams I can remember to make the final four running a full court press for 40 minutes, and I love it. Full court pressing is a great equalizer and it will be interesting to see if Cassius Winston can trust his teammates ball handling skills enough to not try and be a one-man press break, which would play right into Chris Beard's hand. Chris Beard silently won National Coach of the Year, leading Texas Tech to the #1 statistically ranked defense in the country.
Why Virginia should win it all:
Kyle fuckin Guy. What a douchebag name. But he drains 3s from everywhere and is a likely candidate for tournament MOP if UVA cuts down the nets. The real difference maker for Virgina will be their inside presence of Mamadi Diakite (seriously). Auburn injuries down low will force backups to be guarding Diakite and I expect Diakite to have a big game defensively and on the glass. I also am excited to hear Jim Nantz give the whitest pronunciation of Diakite's name 30 times in an hour.
Why Michigan State should win it all:
Cassius Winston is probably the BEST guard left in play. His headband oozes swag and he is a master of controlling the tempo of a game. Guys like Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins will play a significant role in alleviating the pressure off of Winston especially when it comes to breaking the press but the focus of the MSU vs. TT game will be on Winston vs. Culver. Tom Izzo is the most experienced coach among the four and Michigan State is the bluest blood left, but don't expect any of the other teams to give a shit this weekend about what a program or a coach has done in the past.
Why Michigan State and Virginia will win:
See point (1) from above.