There probably won't be much of a post before the final game (see the Final Four net efficiency margin post), but I will point out this anti-conventional wisdom nugget I noticed.

Over their last two games, Michigan State (30.1 and 24.6 NEM) has outperformed North Carolina (19.4 and 17.6 NEM) offensively, while the Heels (-26.1 and -26.5 NEM) have played better defense than Sparty (-21.7 and -20.1 NEM). However, over the entire tournament, Carolina (23.6 offensive NEM and -22.8 defensive NEM per game) is playing better on both ends of the ball than Michigan State (21.3 offensive NEM and -15.6 defensive NEM).

And for your viewing pleasure, here's a chart of the total net efficiency margin for the full season for both finalists. (The color coding should be obvious, but North Carolina is blue and Michigan State is green.)

The value is a blend of all of the two-game to ten-game moving averages. I wanted to smooth out the season without picking some arbitrary period that might unfairly favor one team over the other. Both teams have an upward trend toward the end, which is pretty typical of the teams that make the finals because (1) they're generally playing well and (2) they generally play increasingly better competition as they move along.

The main takeaway is that both teams are playing right around their peak for the season, and that Carolina's peak is higher than Michigan State's peak. Of course, you could have said the same thing for Connecticut and Louisville, so past performance doesn't necessarily predict future results.

I will say that, based on several press row accounts I've read, the crowd noise angle for Monday is overblown. The immensity of Ford Field swallows up much of the noise, and multiple independent stories mentioned being able to easily carry on a phone conversation near courtside even at its loudest. I doubt a team that has won four straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium will be too bothered in this setting.