Michgan State head coach Tom Izzo is aiming for the seventh Final Four appearance in his career, while Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie could go to his first in twp short years as at the helm.
The Spartans and the Huskies shoot for one of the two remaining spots in the Final Four as they battle in the East Region final on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Izzo is now 42-15 all-time in the tournament, but he’s equaled his longest Final Four drought of four years since the Spartans last made college basketball’s premier event in 2010.
Ollie was charged with taking over for a legend of equal stature to Izzo’s in Jim Calhoun almost two years ago, and has guided the Huskies to their best showing since 2011’s national title run.
Both coaches are clearly at different points in their career, and have led their teams this far with very different personnel.
The Spartans have relied on the stellar play of senior forward Adreian Payne and junior swingman Branden Dawson during the tournament. Guards Keith Appling and Garry Harris have at times struggled with their shots, but Michigan State has been able to dominate in paint.
UConn hasn’t yet faced a big-man tandem like Payne and Dawson yet, so it will be interesting to see how they defend.
By contrast the Huskies have done their damage from the perimeter with senior guard and AAC Player of the Year in Shabazz Napier and running mate DeAndre Daniels raining threes on opponents.
The winner moves on to face South Region winner Florida in the Final Four next weekend.
Time: Sunday, 2:20 p.m. EST
TV Channel: CBS
Online Stream Info: A live online stream can be watched at NCAA March Madness Live here.
Point Spread: Michigan State -6
Over/Under: 139 points