The second Final Four game on Saturday will feature three-seed Texas Tech against two-seed Michigan State in Minneapolis for a spot in the 2019 National Championship. It will be a battle of contrasting styles, as the Spartans average better than 78 points per game, while the Red Raiders hold opponents to just under 60 on average. Tom Izzo’s club is favored by 2.5 points, according to FanDuel.
Both teams won their first three tournament games by double digits before getting into tight contests versus their Elite Eight opponents. That shouldn’t be surprising though, considering Texas Tech has the fifth-largest average scoring margin (+13.9) in the nation, while Michigan State ranks seventh (+13.2) in the same category. Chris Beard’s squad ended up defeating Gonzaga 75-69 in the last round, knocking out the newly-acknowledged title favorites to get to Minneapolis. On the other end, Michigan State escaped with a one-point victory against the most highly-touted team in the field in the Duke Blue Devils. In terms of offensive output, the Spartans average 78.3 points per game, which ranks 43rd in Division I. The Red Raiders rank 139th in that category, averaging 73 points per game. On the defensive end, Texas Tech ranks third in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 59 points per contest. With that being said, Michigan State is no slouch on defense either, ranking 30th in the country in scoring defense (65.1). This game might just come down to experience, which certainly favors the Spartans. While Chris Beard and Texas Tech are both making their first Final Four appearances, Tom Izzo will be making his eighth trip to the national semifinals. He has also won a National Championship and finished runner-up in the tournament. The players to watch are Michigan State leader and Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, as well as Texas Tech leader and Big 12 Player of the Year Jarrett Culver. Both players lead their teams in scoring, averaging 18.9 points per game apiece.
In terms of betting, both teams have performed very well against the spread this tournament. Texas Tech is 4-0 ATS in the tournament, and Michigan State is 3-1, failing to cover a large 17.5-point spread against Bradley in the opening round. With that being said, the regular season was a different story. The Spartans were among the best cover teams in the country, ranking second in the nation in cover percentage (71.0). Texas Tech was solid, covering at a rate of 54.3 percent. Michigan State was 72.7 percent ATS as the favorite and 64.3 percent ATS in non-conference games. They were also 23-7 ATS versus teams with a winning record this season. Consider betting on Sparty to COVER (-110) at FanDuel.