What’s happening? The top-seeded Western Illinois Leathernecks face No. 1 seed Michigan State in the Final Four of the 2018 NCAA tournament in our ‘College Hoops 2K8’ sim. We’re going to watch the simulated game and live stream it on Twitch tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Where can I watch? My Twitch channel
Do I need to sign up for anything? No. You only have to create a free Twitch account if you want to comment in the live chat feature, which is recommended because it’s always poppin’.
IF WE WIN: We face the winner of No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 5 Villanova in the national title game. We will sim and watch the national championship game shortly after the buzzer in the Final Four should we defeat the Spartans.
So no one is controlling the teams? That’s correct. I only do the recruiting and set the coaching strategies for Western Illinois. We are watching a simulated game.
I’ll be doing a pre-game press conference as soon as you get this email, so come hang out with me on Twitch.
Read all about Year 11 here: Western Illinois’ road to the Final Four + recap of the wins over Kansas in the Sweet 16 and Florida in the Elite Eight.
The Western Illinois Leathernecks are back in the Final Four for the second time in four years. After capturing America’s heart with their Cinderella run to the national championship in 2015 as a No. 10 seed, the Leathernecks return to college basketball’s biggest stage looking to make history.
Western Illinois enters at 35-0. No college basketball team has finished the season as an undefeated national champion since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers. Standing in their way is a familiar foe: Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.
It was a win over then-No. 2 seed Michigan State in the round of 32 that propelled Western Illinois on their first championship run in 2015. MSU enters the game at 33-4 overall, coming off a 66-62 win over No. 2 Kentucky in the Elite Eight to get here.
Western Illinois and Michigan State ended the season as No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the final media poll of the season. This is how the two teams stack up:
Here’s a look at Michigan State’s roster with a breakdown of their top players:
Gerald Granger: 6’4 senior point guard from Detroit, averaged 11.4 points and five assists per game this season. Not a great three-point shooter (70 rating) but has elite speed (96), ball handling, and passing ability (92 each). Projected top pick in the draft.
Damion Dumont: 6’8 junior power forward out of Houston, led the team in scoring with 19.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Projected lottery pick with A- potential. Former No. 1 overall recruit in America. Good three point shooter (81 overall) with A speed (86 rating), elite low post defense (94), good finishing (91), and elite offensive rebounding (94).
Hollis Boythe: 6’7 junior power forward out of Chattanooga with A+ potential, which I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before. Projected lottery pick and former No. 8 overall recruit. Averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Great finisher, very good shooter, super fast, elite in shot blocking/steals/offensive rebounding.
Lodrick Phelps: 6’6, 241-pound shooting guard out of Minneapolis. True sophomore and former No. 1 overall recruit in America. Great finisher and good shooter with elite speed. Projected first rounder. Averaged 7.4 points per game this season.
Jarron Padgett: 6’11 power forward out of Indianapolis. Has A rating in close range finishing, speed, and blocks. Rated as an A- in three-point shooting, C+ in offensive rebounding, and B in defensive rebounding. Averaged 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season.
Jim Watson: 6’5 senior small forward out of Bowling Green, Ohio. Averaged 12.9 points per game this season. Just a solid all around player with an 87 rating in three-point shooting.
Belton Finn: 6’3 true freshman point guard out of St. Paul and the former No. 4 overall recruit last year.
Lee House: 6’3 senior shooting guard out of Westland, Michigan.
Clyde Luz: 6’6 senior wing also out of Westland, Michigan
Channing Bradley: True freshman out of Chicago who was No. 12 overall recruit.
Kris Bridgewater: 6’10 freshman power forward who can shoot out of South Bend. We recruited him but offered Raymond Harper (redshirting) instead.
Michigan State’s path to the Final Four
First round: Beat No. 16 Delaware State 93-71
Round of 32: Beat No. 9 Gonzaga 79-71
Sweet 16: Beat No. 5 Clemson 74-73
Elite Eight: Beat No. 2 Kentucky 66-62
The other Final Four game: No. 1 Louisville vs. No. 5 Villanova
Here’s a look at how the two teams stack up:
Here’s a look at Louisville’s roster:
Here’s a look at Villanova’s roster:
Remember: we defeated Louisville 78-60 earlier this season. We last played Villanova in the 2015 Sweet 16, when we defeated them thanks to some clutch shot-making late from Giovanni Nelke and Damon Hendriks.
Here’s a final look at the Western Illinois roster:
I’ll see you tonight on Twitch. Let’s go win another national championship.