Michigan State's Kenny Goins, Matt McQuaid, and Cassius Winston talk about preparing for the FInal Four. Matt Charboneau, The Detroit News
Matt Charboneau, James Hawkins, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of Saturday's national semifinal game between Michigan State and Texas Tech (8:49 p.m., CBS/WJR 760).
Matt Charboneau: The Red Raiders will make life difficult for the Spartans with the top defense in the nation. However, Michigan State is a top-10 defense, too, and has the advantage of also being among the most efficient offenses in the nation. That should be the difference thanks to the play of point guard Cassius Winston, who will be able to handle the pressure as Michigan State shoots the ball well enough and gets out in transition to win a close battle and reach the national championship game. Michigan State 68, Texas Tech 60
James Hawkins: Texas Tech’s defense is the real deal, just ask Buffalo, Michigan and Gonzaga. And the offense, led by projected lottery pick Jarrett Culver, doesn’t get the respect it deserves. But the Red Raiders don’t have that indescribable quality and special something that the Spartans have. As long as Cassius Winston continues to be Cassius Winston, Michigan State commits fewer than 10 turnovers and the team hits enough open 3s, they’ll move one step closer to the program’s first national title since 2000. Michigan State 66, Texas Tech 63
John Niyo: Michigan State does the things well — offensive rebounding, three-point shooting — that a team must to beat Texas Tech. I’m not convinced they’ve outgrown their turnover-prone ways, though. Especially against a defense that’s really unlike any other. After watching the Red Raiders dismantle Michigan, then frustrate the nation’s most efficient offense in Gonzaga, I could see something similar happening here in Minneapolis. Texas Tech 65, Michigan State 62
Bob Wojnowski: Texas Tech has a formidable defense that forces turnovers, but Cassius Winston has handled plenty of formidable forces. The keys will be whether the Spartans can get to the offensive glass, which they do so well, and hit a few 3-pointers (hello Matt McQuaid?). After vanquishing Duke’s fancy freshmen, Michigan State is in for a fistfight here. The Red Raiders have a legitimate star in Jarrett Culver, but aren’t a prolific 3-point shooting team. They’re a brutal matchup for most teams, but then, so are the Spartans. Michigan State 64, Texas Tech 59