#4 Louisville vs. #1 Michigan State Predictions, Analysis 3/22/12

Last Updated: March 21st, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The Big East and Big Ten champs will collide in Phoenix on Thursday night for the second of the Sweet 16 encounters, and we are set to make our Michigan State Spartans vs. Louisville Cardinals picks for the second game on tap.

2012 Sweet 16 Matchup: #4 Louisville Cardinals vs. #1 Michigan State Spartans
West Region Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Sweet 16 Date/Time: Thursday, March 22nd, 7:45 p.m.
Wisconsin vs. Syracuse Television Coverage: TBS

Key #1: Someone needs to stop Draymond Green
Simply put, Green is a monster. He is capable of going off for a triple-double every single time that he steps on the court, just as he did against the Long Island Blackbirds in the first game of this tournament. This is a man that personifies Michigan State basketball. He just does everything that needs to be done to put his team in a position to win games. Green averaged 16.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game this year, and we are really struggling to find someone that can really guard him in this Louisville lineup. We tend to think that Gorgui Dieng is going to be too slow to keep up with the shifty forward, and pretty much anyone else that tries to guard Green is going to be a bit undersized. It really isn’t a comfortable position for the Cards to be in, but it is a situation that the rest of the teams in the Big Ten have been dealing with for the last four years. Green is the one guy on the court on either side that can win this game by himself.

Sweet 16 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Louisville Cardinals +5
Michigan State Spartans -5
Over/Under 125
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: Louisville can’t lose its cool down the stretch
We have seen the Cardinals play two very close games here in the dance, and there were a number of tight encounters in the Big East Tournament as well. This is a team that really has to be careful though, as it doesn’t have the greatest history in the close games here in the dance. Just look at what the Morehead State Eagles were able to do to the Cardinals last year. It is clear that this is going to be a close game throughout in all likelihood, and the pressure can’t get to this Louisville team. We know that Michigan State has won some tight contests both at home and on the road this year, and with Green on the court, there is going to be no shortage of confidence and leadership on the Michigan State sidelines. Someone has to do that as well for Louisville in what amounts to probably be its toughest game of the year.

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Key #3: Foul shooting can’t be the death for either of these teams
The winner of this game might be the team that ends up shooting the ball better from the charity stripe. It really isn’t often that a team can make a deep run in the dance without being a decent foul shooting team, and we know that neither of these squads meet that mold. The Cardinals only shoot 68.7 percent from the line as a team, while the Spartans are just at 69.5 percent. There isn’t a foul shooter on MSU’s roster that shot 80 percent, but we do know that both Green and Keith Appling are going to likely knock down the clutch shots when it is really needed. Kyle Kuric, Russ Smith, and Chris Smith are all at least 75 percent free throw shooters, but if they get into foul trouble themselves and don’t have the ball in their hands, the rest of this Louisville team is absolutely atrocious on free throws.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Sweet 16 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 @ 1:14 pm (EST)
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