Monday March 30th, 2009

SI.com caught up with Seth Davis, who's serving as a CBS studio analyst during the tournament, to get his impressions of Sunday's regional finals.

SI.com: How did Michigan State upset Louisville, a team that was playing as well as any in the tournament?

SD: They played as well as they can play. They really played well, and it starts with their man-to-man defense. Louisville had a hard time getting the ball to good places against them, and ended up shooting only 38 percent from the floor. Terrence Williams gets five points -- he was 1 for 7 from the floor -- and that really hurt them. The other main thing was Michigan State turned the ball over 12 times, and better than how few they turned it over -- coach Tom Izzo likes to talk to football terms -- is that didn't want to throw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and Louisville did not get a single fast break point. That's amazing. On the boards, they crashed the glass, and on offense, Michigan State worked the ball around and worked the clock, so it was very impressive all around. Big ups to Goran Suton. He's had a great all-around tournament. His ability to step out and shoot is very good for the Spartans.

SI.com: I think a lot of people expected the UNC-Oklahoma game to be closer. What happened?

SD: Every tournament has a Tiger Woods team. When Tiger's at his best, there's nothing anyone can do. North Carolina's game is better than everyone else's 'A' game -- they're so hard to guard, they shoot 51 percent against a good defensive team, and everyone talks about how good they are at transition, but they're really good in half court. Ty Lawson can really shoot it, and he makes great decisions: today he had 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals, and Danny Green gave them some pop. They're so tough to beat -- Wayne Ellington had a quiet game, but is capable of going for 30 against anyone, so they can pick their spots. I thought the Oklahoma defense would have bothered them a little more -- I thought Oklahoma's size, strength and toughness would be enough to challenge the Heels, but Oklahoma couldn't answer the bell: Tony Crocker scored only four today after putting up a career-high 28 against Syracuse. Outside of Willie Warren, none of their guards really came to play. You need all hands on deck for a game against North Carolina, but outside of Warren and Griffin, no one showed up.

SI.com: What are you watching for in the Final Four?

SD: I think they're both really great games. Michigan State and UConn have been some the best programs over the last 15 years and with North Carolina and Villanova, you have a lot of quickness and great guards. I think that the No. 1 seeds are obviously the favorites. You look at Villanova and as well as they played against Pitt, DeJuan Blair still had 20 points and 10 rebounds. North Carolina's as strong inside as Pitt, but the Tar Heels are also strong on perimeter. Villanova is used to being quicker than everyone, but that won't be the case this game. They'll need help and luck against Carolina. If UNC is making shots no one can beat them .

SI.com: You asked UConn coach Jim Calhoun about the pending allegations against the school between games. What did you think about his answer?

SD: He's expressing confidence and that's what I've heard from the people with UConn. They keep telling me it's not as bad as it looks. One thing I will say is that his notion of "maybe mistakes were made and does everyone know all 508 pages in the rulebook" doesn't really pan out. He's not accused of violating some obscure rule. The notion that this a bureaucratic entanglement or administrative error because of some arcane rule doesn't work. There are a lot of archaic rules, but a major rule is you can't use an agent to recruit players. I don't know the details of what's happening in the investigation. A lot is going to depend on what people can prove that they knew. He's expressed confidence. It's hard to say it's not going to be a distraction for them this week, because it's going to be there. I don't think it will affect their play, but they're going to be asked about it. There's a lot of media people at the Final Four and frankly they smell blood in the water.

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