Three different Big East versus Big Ten matchups are set for tonight’s regional semifinal action, including both of the early games. Here are your announcer pairings for this week’s action.
#1 Syracuse vs. #4 Wisconsin, East Regional, 7:15 in Boston (CBS). Wisconsin has been overrated all year, right? Well, they are one game from the Elite Eight, in what should be a pretty even matchup with the Orange minus Melo. We know that Wisconsin will play their deliberate style and excellent half court defense to slow the game down. We know that Syracuse will play its zone, and Wisconsin will have to make shots from outside (something Kansas State could not do). Syracuse’s weakness is the offensive rebounds by opponents. However, Wisconsin doesn’t normally crash the glass to rebound as hard as other teams, though they have the players that could in Evans, Bruesewitz, and Berggren. This shows in their defensive rebound rates. Philosophically, the Badgers prefer to get back in numbers, but it will be interesting to see how hard they go at the Orange weakness here.
The Line: Syracuse by 3.5. The pick: Two key questions here that will decide it. One, can Syracuse turn Wisconsin over, something the Badgers are good at avoiding with Jordan Taylor. Two, can the Badgers create second chance opportunities without giving up quick opportunities at the other end. I think this one is even, so Wisconsin +3.5.
#1 Michigan State vs. #4 Louisville, West Regional, 7:47 in Phoenix (TBS). This one is going to be a knock down drag out defensive battle in the half court, with contested shots galore. I think the keys here are going to be whether Louisville can control Michigan State on the offensive glass, and whether the Cardinals, who have not been a great outside shooting team all year (and Russ Smith has struggled in this tournament), can make some outside shots to loosen the Spartans. Also, Peyton Siva needs to play under control and avoid costly turnovers. It’s going to be hard enough to score when shots do go up.
The Line: Michigan State by 5. The pick: Michigan State -5.
Tournament pick record to date: 31-17 against the spread.