Michigan State 2007 NCAA Tournament Capsule
Michigan State Spartans - Big Ten (22-11, 8-8)
Seed: #9 - East Region
Big Wins: 11/16 vs Texas (63-61), 12/9 BYU (76-61), 2/20 Wisconsin (64-55)
Bad Losses: 1/4 at Iowa (60-62), 2/7 at Purdue (38-62), 2/27 at Michigan (56-67)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2006, First Round loss to George Mason
Coach: Tom Izzo (23-8 in 9 NCAA appearances)
Probable Michigan State Starters:
Drew Neitzel, Senior, Guard, 18.1 ppg, 4.3 apg
Travis Walton, Sophomore, Guard, 6.6 ppg, 5.5 apg
Raymar Morgan, Freshman, Forward, 11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Marquise Gray, Sophomore, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Goran Suton, Sophomore, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.4 apg
Key Roleplayers for Michigan State:
Maurice Joseph, Sophomore, Guard, 6.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Isaiah Dahlman, Freshman, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.2 apg
Drew Naymick, Junior, Center, 3.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Idong Ibok, Sophomore, Center, 2.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Why They Can Surprise:
The defense alone can keep the Spartans in any game. Michigan State is holding the opposition to just 38% shooting from the floor. That is nothing new for a Spartan team, but this group has a little more flash on the defensive end then has been seen in East Lansing lately. Idong Ibok and Drew Naymick have proved that they can be intimidators under the basket and combine for nearly three blocks per game. Add Marquise Gray and Goran Suton to the mix and Michigan State has a bevy of capable big men to eat up fouls and occasionally provide an offensive spark.
Coach Tom Izzo has led Michigan State to four Final Fours in the last eight years. This group might not have as much firepower as the teams in the past, but the Spartan coaching staff always seems to find a way to get it done when it counts the most. The Spartan backcourt has suffered from a barrage of injury problems. Raymar Morgan, Maurice Joseph and Isaiah Dahlman have all missed a handful of games throughout the season. Yet, with everybody healthy, MSU is deep enough to make a run.
Why Michigan State Can Disappoint:
They might be deep enough, but is Drew Neitzel fresh enough? The junior guard averaged over 35 minutes per game on the season and, if the sharpshooter has an off game, the Spartans are in trouble. Morgan is the team’s only other double-digit scorer and it may be too late for somebody else to develop into a consistent offensive threat. Suton, Gray and Joseph all have the potential to compliment Neitzel and Morgan in the scoring column, but inconsistency in that department has plagued them the entire season.
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Who To Watch:
Travis Walton is a staple of the Spartan backcourt and he plays just as an important role as Neitzel. Walton has taken over the point guard job so Neitzel can work off the ball and find open shots. If Walton cannot handle the March pressure and Neitzel has to take over the bulk of the ballhandling duties, the Spartans will struggle to score even more.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.1 (241st in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.7 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (45, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.3 (7, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.0 (109, 4)
Rebound Margin: 7.8 (5, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.0 (32, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.0 (205, 11)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Marquette
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