Oklahoma (4-0) at #1 Michigan State (5-0)
A “Payne” To His Opponents
Michigan State comes into the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Finals, the stronger team as the Spartans made easy work of the Virginia Tech Hokies in the semifinals, 96-77. Despite strong efforts by Jarrell Eddie and Adam Smith, senior Adreian Payne continues to have a huge senior season, possibly positioning himself for next year’s NBA Draft.
Payne was nearly perfect with 29 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 10 of 15 from the field and 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Michigan State will be a tough team to defeat due to their great amount of talent combined with experience that some other teams such as Kentucky and others don’t have.
Although the NCAA basketball odds aren’t out yet, it’s very clear that the Spartans will come into this game as a moderate betting favorite over an unranked Oklahoma team that is actually lucky to be in the finals. The Sooners made a miraculous comeback against Seton Hall in the semifinals, trailing by 6 points with less than a minute to play. Seton Hall created two costly turnovers by not protecting the basketball and Oklahoma pulled out an 86-85 victory led by Cameron Clark and Isaiah Cousins. Leading scorer, Buddy Hield was an ineffective 3 for 12 from the field and will need to improve upon that performance to have any chance against the number 1 team in the land.
Look for Adreian Payne, Gary Harris, and Keith Appling to expose a weak defense in a mismatch in the finals of this prominent tournament.
Free Pick- Michigan State
Oral Roberts (2-2) at #12 Wisconsin (5-0)
Dominating the Weaker Opponent
After a Frank Kaminsky 43 point outburst recently, the Badgers went back to playing “Wisconsin basketball” with a collective group effort of solid offense and fine defense. All 5 Badgers scored in double figures against Bowling Green en route to an 88-64 victory. Wisconsin outscored Bowling Green 36-3 from beyond the arc and that was the difference in the game. The Badgers usually play low scoring half-court basketball games, but occasionally they open up the offense and that’s when they become a dominant basketball team.
Wisconsin will only go as far as senior Ben Brust takes them. Brust may not be the most talented player in college basketball, but he’s one of the most clutch players in the game today. Brust is coming off of a 19 point, 6 rebound output for the Badgers as he led the team to victory over Bowling Green. Frank Kaminsky, who is the leading scorer for Wisconsin off of a record scoring performance, came back down to earth and was still a major contributor in this ball game as the teams 2nd leading scorer with 14 points.
Obi Emegano Injury
If things weren’t tough enough for Oral Roberts already, they will be most likely without their leading scorer, Obi Emegano, after he suffered a knee injury in a 72-55 loss to St. Louis. Emegano came flying out of the gate against the Billikens shooting 3 for 3 from the field in just 7 minutes when the injury happened. The Golden Eagles will need senior and 2nd leading scorer, Shawn Glover to have a monster game and that will be a tall order against one of the better defenses in the country in Wisconsin. Glover is averaging 18.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Oral Roberts isn’t a deep team offensively, but someone other than Glover will need to have a big game in order to compete with one of the best teams in the country in Wisconsin.
The Emegano injury is a crushing blow. Look for Wisconsin to roll over this short-handed team.