The East Region has clearly been the one most affected by "March Madness," which is a good thing for both Oklahoma and Michigan State. Many thought the Sooners were overseeded as a three, but with Villanova and Virginia out of the picture, they are now the top seed heading into the regional in Syracuse. Michigan State knocked off the Cavaliers, and have Tom Izzo's tournament pedigree and the hot hand of guard Travis Trice, who has 38 points in the first two games of this tournament. The Final Four is wide open for any team in the East, will Lon Kruger's Sooners or Izzo's Spartans take advantage?
Date: Friday, March 27
Time: 10:07 PM ET
TV Channel: TBS
Location: Syracuse, NY
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Opening Betting Line: Michigan State -2 (5Dimes)
Prediction: It is unwise to bet against a Tom Izzo team in March, and clearly bettors have taken that to heart, based on the opening line for this game. The two teams have very similar records—Michigan State is 25-11 and 12-6 in Big Ten play, while OU is 24-10 and 12-6 in the Big 12. The Big 12 was thought by many to be the strongest conference heading into the tournament, but only two teams have survived and advanced into the Sweet 16: Oklahoma and West Virginia. The conference's rep has certainly taken a hit in the last week, while Michigan State appears to be surging at the right time.
This game projects to be a tough one, so when in doubt, we'll go with Tom Izzo here. While Oklahoma played relatively close games with Albany and Dayton to open the tournament, Michigan State outlasted a game Georgia team that almost beat Kentucky earlier in the year, and landed a big win over Virginia that was far more decisive than the six point margin would indicate.