BOZICH | First Five Thoughts on Louisville-Michigan State region - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | First Five Thoughts on Louisville-Michigan State regional final

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WDRB) – There is no reason to wait until 2:20 p.m. Sunday when Louisville and Michigan State will play for a spot in the NCAA Final Four (a game that was not forecast on my bracket).

My First Five Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament East Regional championship game are ready:

1. Louisville, a four seed, can get all the way to Indianapolis without beating a team with a higher seed.

The Cards started their run through the bracket by beating UC-Irvine, a 13-seed. They followed that victory by toppling Northern Iowa, a five-seed.

North Carolina State, the team U of L beat, 75-65, Friday night in the Carrier Dome, was seeded eighth in the East.

And Michigan State is a seven, but a bracket-busting seven seed with victories over two-seed Virginia as well as three-seed Oklahoma.

The Spartans have won seven of their last eight – and all seven wins have been against NCAA Tournament teams. None of the seven victories have been by double figures.

2. This will be the third meeting between Rick Pitino of Louisville and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

Izzo and Michigan State upset Pitino's one-seed team that featured Terrence Williams and Earl Clark in the 2009 Midwest Regional final in Indianapolis. Louisville eliminated Michigan State in the West Regional semifinals three years ago in Phoenix.

3. The Spartans and Cardinals had six common opponents this season -- Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State. Three from the ACC, three from the Big Ten.

Michigan State went 5-3 against those teams. Louisville's record against the group was 4-3, sweeping the Big Ten trio of IU, Minnesota and Ohio State. Sparty went 1-2 against the ACC, losing to Duke and Notre Dame before beating Virginia.

4. Louisville ranks 64th in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's offensive efficiency numbers, but fifth in defense. Michigan State ranks 13th on offense and 47th on defense.

The Cards are last in the offensive numbers among the eight teams still playing for the NCAA title but third on defense.

Michigan State ranks seventh on offense and sixth on defense.

5. Pomeroy's numbers give each team a 50 percent win probability with Michigan State winning, 65-64.

Jeff Sagarin's computer predictor formula favors Louisville by – get this – 0.24 points.

I expected the Las Vegas line to open at pick 'em, but at VegasInsiders.com, the Spartans opened as 2 1/2 point favorites.

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