2015 Final Four Preview: Duke vs. Michigan State

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 7 Michigan State Why Duke will win: Duke has raised its play to a new level over the past couple of weeks, and Justise Winslow is a big

    March 29, 2015

    No. 1 Duke vs. No. 7 Michigan State

    Why Duke will win: Duke has raised its play to a new level over the past couple of weeks, and Justise Winslow is a big reason why. The freshman can score inside and out, and he has helped balance the floor as opponents try to contain center Jahlil Okafor and guard Tyus jones. That’s the biggest challenge vs. the Blue Devils. There are five legitimate stars who can take over games, and even when Duke isn’t at its best, it still can hang its hat on defense or limit its mistakes on the floor. This is a tough, driven team with good depth. How do you beat Michigan State? Be tough, have depth.

    Why Michigan State will win: It’s never really a surprise when Tom Izzo’s team gets into the Final Four, but Michigan State is still somewhat of a surprise to still be alive, but it’s also a good example of the importance of seniors in the NCAA tournament. Guard Travis Trice and swingman Branden Dawson have been huge for the Spartans in March, with Trice the kind of game-changer off the bounce who can wear down opponents.

    Denzel Valentine is a strong inside-outside player with a variety of moves who also has a knack for the big moment. MSU isn’t blessed with consistent play from its bigs, but Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling are serviceable forwards who have the toughness to make an impact. Lourawls Nairn can be an X-factor if he plays with confidence and uses his quickness to get to the bucket.

    What will happen: Michigan State has enjoyed a wild ride to Indianapolis, and Izzo is obviously a special coach, but Mike Krzyzewski has the team, the depth and the athleticism. Throw in the presence and the power of Jahlil Okafor inside, and the Blue Devils will have too much. Look for this to be a tough, half-court battle that sees Duke turn in flawless execution late to the brink of a championship.

    Prediction:Duke 67, Michigan State 62

    #WhosGotNext: Duke or Michigan State? in Campus Insiders Polls on LockerDome

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