Michigan State 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview
Michigan State Spartans - Big Ten Conference (26-6, 15-3)
Seed: #2 - Midwest Region
Big Wins: 11/28 vs Oklahoma State (94-79), 1/10 Kansas (75-62), 3/1 at Illinois (74-66)
Bad Losses: 11/27 vs Maryland (62-80), 1/21 Northwestern (63-70), 2/1 Penn State (68-72)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Sweet Sixteen loss to Memphis
Coach: Tom Izzo (26-10 in 11 NCAA appearances)
Probable Michigan State Starters:
Kalin Lucas, Sophomore, Guard, 14.8 ppg, 4.4 apg
- Travis Walton, Senior, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 3.3 apg
- Raymar Morgan, Junior, Forward, 10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg
- Delvin Roe, Freshman, Forward, 6.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg
- Goran Suton, Senior, Center, 9.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg
Key Michigan State Roleplayers:
Chris Allen, Sophomore, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 1.2 apg
Marquise Gray, Senior, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Draymond Green, Freshman, Forward, 2.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Korie Lucious, Freshman, Guard, 3.2 ppg, 1.3 apg
Durrell Summers, Sophomore, Guard, 8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Why The Spartans Can Surprise:
Morgan is much more than a rebounder. Although he struggled through much of the season with walking pneumonia, and possibly a small case of the boogie woogie blues, Morgan still ranked second on the team in points and rebounds. The Spartans will need him at full strength if they want to end up down the road in Detroit for the Final Four.
Few teams in the nation rebound as well as the Spartans.It takes a team effort to pull off that feat, but Michigan State can thank Goran Suton, Raymar Morgan, Delvon Roe and Marquise Gray. Suton, who leads the team with 7.6 boards per contest, is actually getting fewer rebounds than he did last year. Suton is still a dynamic scorer who can battle in the paint or hit the outside jumper, but he has fewer rebounds this year because of Roe. Roe appears to be the strong power forward that Coach Tom Izzo has been missing the last few years. Since he is only a freshman Roe continues to improve with every game. Gray is tough too, but he has just not been as productive this year. However, he is a senior with plenty of NCAA Tournament experience and that always comes in handy.
Why The Spartans Can Disappoint:
The turnover numbers are way too high for an Izzo coached team. But it is not the fault of point guard Kalin Lucas or fellow ballhandler Travis Walton. Most of the turnovers come from the big guys. When the turnovers start getting out of control, the Spartans can lose their poise very quickly. Another concern could be the lack of three point shooting the Spartans have done this season. Few teams in the nation take fewer long balls than MSU. It may seem unnatural for this team to hoist up three’s to get back into a game, but at least they have a few guys in Lucas and sophomores Chris Allen and Durrell Summers that can knock them down relatively consistently.
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Who To Watch:
Lucas will score a bunch of points and so will Morgan. While Morgan was sidelined the second scorer was usually Allen, Summers or Suton and one, or more, of those three need to reach double digits every game in March to compliment Lucas and Morgan. Allen will take a majority of his shots from the perimeter and has mostly been used as a shooter off the bench type of player this season, but he is capable of putting up 20 points. The same can be said for Summers, but his game is much different. While he will keep the defense honest with his outside shooting, Summers will do most of his damage above the rim. As long as everybody stays healthy and Coach Izzo can get a good scoring output from somebody else besides Lucas and Morgan, the Spartans will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (101st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.5 (53, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.8 (81, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (68, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.2 (260, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (92, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (168, 9)
Rebound Margin: 10.1 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.3 (17, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (180, 9)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Elite Eight loss Louisville
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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