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Michigan State (5) vs. Butler (5), 6:05 ET: The first game of the evening pits two teams that not many people thought would make the Final Four. The Michigan State Spartans had a very solid season, but didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Then, Junior guard and leading scorer Kalin Lucas went down with a foot injury and everyone wrote the Spartans off. This proves even more how great of a coach Tom Izzo is. Reaching the Final Four for the 6th time in 12 years. Their 4 wins to get here weren’t exactly pretty, but that really doesn’t matter. Durrell Summers has picked up the scoring for the Spartans by averaging 20 points per game in their four NCAA Tournament wins. He only averaged slightly over 10 points a game during the regular season. They will face an upstart Butler Bulldogs team who will be playing the Final Four only 7 miles from their campus and bring a 24-game winning streak into Saturday’s game. This is a team that is well coached by Brad Stevens. They spread the ball around and play good defense by forcing turnovers. Center Matt Howard can also bang with the best in the paint. It’s hard to go against Tom Izzo in big games like this, but it’s also hard to go against an underdog playing at home.
Pick: Butler -1
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West Virginia (2) vs. Duke (1), 8:45 ET: The second game of the evening has the team many thought should have received the #1 seed instead of Duke. West Virginia gets to prove the doubters wrong with a win over Duke and a chance at the National Championship. Just like Michigan State, the Mountaineers are playing short-handed. Guard Darryl Bryant is doubtful to play Saturday. He was averaging 10.6 points per game for the Mountaineers. Senior De’Sean Butler has picked up the scoring slack by averaging 20 points in West Virginia’s last 3 wins. Duke has had a pretty easy time in the tournament, covering the spread in all 4 games. Kyle Singler will be key in this game. He has to try and contain Butler and not give him open looks at the 3 point line. Duke will look to push the tempo in this game by creating turnovers. I picked Duke to win it all before the tournament started and I will stick to it here.
Pick: Duke -2
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