Writers Q&A: The Final Four questions

I’m going to pretend I work for ESPN and answer the questions that the Worldwide Leader asked its college basketball writers.

What are you most looking forward to Saturday?

Seeing just what kind of crowd Butler is able to draw and whether or not it helps Bulldogs beat Michigan State. Final Four crowds are notoriously corporate and laid back, so if the Butler faithful (and the newly converted) can create some real home court atmosphere, it will make things tough for Michigan State. I’ll also be watching how the Bulldogs handle playing in a dome; they’re used to playing in smaller gyms and fieldhouses in the Horizon League.

At the end of the day, whose performance will we be talking about?

There are a long list of possibilities, but Nolan Smith is playing excellent basketball of late. He’s the only Duke guard that will be able to get into the lane and create his own shot, and his floater will be very useful against West Virginia’s zone. And for all of the talk of Jon Scheyer’s “clutch-ness,” Smith isn’t afraid to take the big shot either.

Butler-Michigan State: Who wins and why?

Despite the Spartans’ experience, I think the Bulldogs win a tight one. They’ve already beat two teams (Syracuse, K-State) that are better than Michigan State, so they appear to be the better team. The question is — can they put all the distractions and the sheer magnitude of the game behind them and just play ball? I think they can.

Duke-West Virginia: Who wins and why?

I have a feeling this game will be nip-and-tuck the entire way with the Blue Devils pulling away at the end with a big three and excellent free throw shooting. Even though it was a 2-3, Baylor’s zone will get Duke ready to face the Mountaineers’ 1-3-1. I don’t expect West Virginia to continue to shoot the three like they did against Kentucky — Duke is excellent at guarding the arc.

Be sure to check back around tip-off — I’ll be tweeting during both games.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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