Michigan State Spartans
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Sweet Sixteen loss to Memphis
Coach: Tom Izzo (26-10 in 11 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
No team in the nation rebounds 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 7.4 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.
Morgan is much more than a rebounder. Although he struggled through much of the season with walking pneumonia, 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.
Why They 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.
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.
Kalin Lucas, Sophomore, Guard
Travis Walton, Senior, Guard
Raymar Morgan, Junior, Forward
Delvin Roe, Freshman, Forward
Goran Suton, Senior, Center
Chris Allen, Sophomore, Guard
Marquise Gray, Senior, Forward
Draymond Green, Freshman, Forward
Korie Lucious, Freshman, Guard
Durrell Summers, Sophomore, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!