Michigan State 2010 NCAA Tournament Preview
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Michigan State Spartans - Big Ten Conference (24-8, 14-4)
Seed: #5 - Midwest Region
Big Wins: 11/17 Gonzaga (75-71), 1/6 Wisconsin (54-47), 2/28 at Purdue (53-44)
Bad Losses: 11/27 vs Florida (74-77), 12/1 at North Carolina (82-89), 2/6 at Illinois (73-78)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, National Championship loss to North Carolina
Coach: Tom Izzo (31-11 in 12 NCAA appearances)
Probable Michigan State Starters:
Kalin Lucas, Junior, Guard, 14.9 ppg, 3.9 apg
Chris Allen, Junior, Guard, 9.1 ppg, 2.1 apg
Durrell Summers, Junior, Guard, 10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Raymar Morgan, Senior, Forward, 11.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Delvon Roe, Sophomore, Forward, 6.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Key Michigan State Roleplayers:
Draymond Green, Sophomore, Forward, 10.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.0 apg
Korie Lucious, Sophomore, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 3.3 apg
Derrick Nix, Freshman, Center, 2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Garrick Sherman, Freshman, Center, 1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Why The Spartans Can Surprise:
Michigan State teams are known for their outstanding work on the glass and this group is no different. Despite losing quite a few of their top rebounders, the Spartans still rank second in the nation in rebounding margin. Starting big man Delvon Roe has not dominated as much as many have hoped, but he is bringing in 5.2 rebounds per contest and has developed into a decent interior scorer.
Draymond Green is the player who has come out of nowhere to lead the team in rebounding. The 6-6 wide bodied Saginaw, Michigan product is more than just a rebounder though. He averages over ten points per game and is surprisingly nimble around the basket. Most opposing power forwards will have trouble defending him since he can step outside and hit the mid-range jumper with consistency. Perhaps Green’s best asset is his ability to pass from the interior. He dishes out 3.0 assists per contest and rarely turns the ball over. And all of this usually happens after he starts the game on the bench.
Why The Spartans Can Disappoint:
Durrell Summers is an explosive scorer who also helps this team out on the glass, but it is not the undersized frontcourt that will lead to a Spartan loss, it is the turnovers given up by the backcourt. Last year the Spartans could lean on Travis Walton to take care of the ball while Kalin Lucas and Korie Lucious were free to score off the ball. Lucas ended up winning the conference’s Player of the Year honors for his efforts during the 2008-2009 season, but he struggled with his ballhandling early in the 2009-2010 campaign. He is a great passer and a superb shooter from anywhere on the floor, but he has to keep his team under control and find targets like Summers or Chris Allen on the wings without turning the ball over if the Spartans want to play in another National Championship game this year.
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Who To Watch for MSU:
The frontcourt is in good shape, especially late in the year when Roe and Green are more experienced and freshmen Garrick Sherman and Derrick Nix are more comfortable with their roles off the bench. The backcourt has four dynamic scorers and Lucas is developing into a leader. The one player who is still rather inconsistent is Raymar Morgan. Plagued with injuries throughout his collegiate career, the 6-8 senior has been on and off for the last four years and nothing has changed. One day he will put up 20 points, the next day none. If Morgan gets hot in the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans could easily make it back to another Final Four.
Michigan State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (90th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.4 (51, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (27, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (57, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (294, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: na
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.0 (166, 9)
Rebound Margin: 9.3 (2, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.9 (7, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.0 (187, 10)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to Maryland