* Tournament Thus Far: Texas -- beat No. 16 UNC Asheville, 82-61; beat No. 9 Purdue, 77-67; beat No. 5 Connecticut, 82-78. Michigan State -- beat No. 10 Colorado 79-64; beat No. 2 Florida, 68-46; beat No. 6 Maryland, 60-58.

* Why Texas Will Win: T.J. Ford. The nation's premier point guard controls the tempo, knows when to give the ball to his teammates, or shoot the ball himself. Michigan State simply can't match up with Ford.

* Why Michigan State Will Win: The Spartans will lull Texas into a slow, bruising battle, much like Purdue did in a 77-67 second-round loss to the Longhorns. A frustrated Texas allows Michigan State to win late on free throws.

* Key Matchup: James Thomas vs. Aloysius Anagonye. Thomas, the leading rebounder in the Big 12, controlled the inside for the Longhorns with 13 points and 15 rebounds against U-Conn. He is averaging 12 points and 11 rebounds in three NCAA tournament games. Anagonye is not an offensive threat (5.3 points per tournament game), but he has helped neutralize opponents' front courts with his defense. Maryland's front court managed a combined 14 points and 4-of-17 shooting and committed seven turnovers Friday.


Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo's record in NCAA tournament regional finals. In his eight seasons as head coach, the Spartans reached the Final Four in 1999, 2000 and 2001. This will be Texas Coach Rick Barnes's first regional final.