Why They’ll Win It All: Michigan State

Throughout the week, we’ll be running small capsules on the remaining Final Four teams, stating why they’ll win it all. Today: Michigan State.

Had I told you before the tournament that Michigan State would beat the No. 1 overall seed Louisville and do it easily, you likely would have called me crazy. But that’s exactly what happened last Sunday as the Big Ten regular season champs dismantled the hottest team in the country to reach Detroit.

There are several reasons to like the Spartans to win their third national championship. First, Tom Izzo gets it done in March. He’s 30-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and the Spartans typically peak down the stretch. This year is no exception. After head scratching home losses to Northwestern and Penn State, Michigan State has won 13 of 15. There’s something to be said for momentum.

Michigan State is also a balanced team. Five guys average eight points or more. If Kalin Lucas doesn’t beat you, Goran Suton will. If Chris Allen isn’t hitting from behind the arc, Durrell Summers or Korie Lucious will pick up the slack. It’s also unlikely the Spartans will hit the wall due to fatigue. Izzo carefully distributes the minutes for a perfectly balanced rotation. Only Lucas averages over 30 minutes.

And what I like most about the Spartans is the way they crash the boards. They’re grabbing 9.6 more rebounds per game than opponents. Which means they’re not allowing many second chance points. That will come in handy against Connecticut with Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien, who can both control the paint. Combine a proven winner in March with a balanced rotation that pound the glass and what do you get? A national championship.

  • deedubbadoo

    This is the team I drew in our work pool, so that is why I am hoping they win. Well that a coupled with the fact that I really respect and like Coach Izzo. The guy just does things the right way. Now if it was Illinois instead of MSU in the final four, I would hope that Thabeet could volleyball spike a shot and break Bruce Webber's nose! I will happily route for MSU to bring this thing home.

  • deedubbadoo

    This is the team I drew in our work pool, so that is why I am hoping they win. Well that a coupled with the fact that I really respect and like Coach Izzo. The guy just does things the right way. Now if it was Illinois instead of MSU in the final four, I would hope that Thabeet could volleyball spike a shot and break Bruce Webber's nose! I will happily route for MSU to bring this thing home.

  • deedubbadoo

    This is the team I drew in our work pool, so that is why I am hoping they win. Well that a coupled with the fact that I really respect and like Coach Izzo. The guy just does things the right way. Now if it was Illinois instead of MSU in the final four, I would hope that Thabeet could volleyball spike a shot and break Bruce Webber's nose! I will happily route for MSU to bring this thing home.

  • JerryCT

    Me too.

    It will be fascinating to see whose strengths are stronger. MSU guards or UCONN guards, MSU rebounding or UCONN rebounding. If they stalemate on these points then I give an edge to MSU since I like their bench and the home crowd.

    Against UNC or Nova I donot feel as confident about MSU. The bench is negated.

  • JerryCT

    Me too.

    It will be fascinating to see whose strengths are stronger. MSU guards or UCONN guards, MSU rebounding or UCONN rebounding. If they stalemate on these points then I give an edge to MSU since I like their bench and the home crowd.

    Against UNC or Nova I donot feel as confident about MSU. The bench is negated.

  • JerryCT

    Me too.

    It will be fascinating to see whose strengths are stronger. MSU guards or UCONN guards, MSU rebounding or UCONN rebounding. If they stalemate on these points then I give an edge to MSU since I like their bench and the home crowd.

    Against UNC or Nova I donot feel as confident about MSU. The bench is negated.

  • JerryCT

    Also, UCONN is a perennially poor half court offensive team relying on one on one play to get shots when forced deeper into the clock. If MSU can stop the scoring early in the clock as the defense sets up they will be in good shape. If not they can be in trouble.

  • JerryCT

    Also, UCONN is a perennially poor half court offensive team relying on one on one play to get shots when forced deeper into the clock. If MSU can stop the scoring early in the clock as the defense sets up they will be in good shape. If not they can be in trouble.

  • JerryCT

    Also, UCONN is a perennially poor half court offensive team relying on one on one play to get shots when forced deeper into the clock. If MSU can stop the scoring early in the clock as the defense sets up they will be in good shape. If not they can be in trouble.

  • southsidehitmen

    I'm really looking forward to the Michigan State/Connecticut matchup.

    I remember last year how badly Calhoun outcoached Sampson during the game at Indiana…and as Alex mentioned Izzo always has his team playing its best at the right time. (And their strategy against Louisville was a thing of beauty.)

    Two of the best COACHES (both good recruiters, but even better in-game coaches) in the game. I can't wait to see the strategies.

  • southsidehitmen

    I'm really looking forward to the Michigan State/Connecticut matchup.

    I remember last year how badly Calhoun outcoached Sampson during the game at Indiana…and as Alex mentioned Izzo always has his team playing its best at the right time. (And their strategy against Louisville was a thing of beauty.)

    Two of the best COACHES (both good recruiters, but even better in-game coaches) in the game. I can't wait to see the strategies.

  • southsidehitmen

    I'm really looking forward to the Michigan State/Connecticut matchup.

    I remember last year how badly Calhoun outcoached Sampson during the game at Indiana…and as Alex mentioned Izzo always has his team playing its best at the right time. (And their strategy against Louisville was a thing of beauty.)

    Two of the best COACHES (both good recruiters, but even better in-game coaches) in the game. I can't wait to see the strategies.

  • JerryCT

    I think one analyst said that the trick to beating UCONN is to move Thabeet around the floor on defense. I think Suton can do that. Then again they can always play a zone or play 4 on 5 letting Thabeet roam the middle.

    Indeed it will be fascinating

  • JerryCT

    I think one analyst said that the trick to beating UCONN is to move Thabeet around the floor on defense. I think Suton can do that. Then again they can always play a zone or play 4 on 5 letting Thabeet roam the middle.

    Indeed it will be fascinating

  • JerryCT

    I think one analyst said that the trick to beating UCONN is to move Thabeet around the floor on defense. I think Suton can do that. Then again they can always play a zone or play 4 on 5 letting Thabeet roam the middle.

    Indeed it will be fascinating

  • MikeinNC

    I think the final reason in favor of the Spartans is that they are likely to have a meaningful home court advantage….things are rough in the state of Michigan right now, and people will rally around this team like crazy, and with the NCAA trying to set an attendance record, you are likely to have a lot of frenzied fans wearing green in the crowd….this team has a real sense that they could give the whole state a nice shot in the arm by bringing this title home.

    But in the end I think Carolina is just too dang good.

  • MikeinNC

    I think the final reason in favor of the Spartans is that they are likely to have a meaningful home court advantage….things are rough in the state of Michigan right now, and people will rally around this team like crazy, and with the NCAA trying to set an attendance record, you are likely to have a lot of frenzied fans wearing green in the crowd….this team has a real sense that they could give the whole state a nice shot in the arm by bringing this title home.

    But in the end I think Carolina is just too dang good.

  • MikeinNC

    I think the final reason in favor of the Spartans is that they are likely to have a meaningful home court advantage….things are rough in the state of Michigan right now, and people will rally around this team like crazy, and with the NCAA trying to set an attendance record, you are likely to have a lot of frenzied fans wearing green in the crowd….this team has a real sense that they could give the whole state a nice shot in the arm by bringing this title home.

    But in the end I think Carolina is just too dang good.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    Apparently, Coach Knight was in Memphis interviewing for the job today. But, Memphis' first choice is supposedly Bruce Pearl, and they haven't talked to him yet.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    Apparently, Coach Knight was in Memphis interviewing for the job today. But, Memphis' first choice is supposedly Bruce Pearl, and they haven't talked to him yet.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    Apparently, Coach Knight was in Memphis interviewing for the job today. But, Memphis' first choice is supposedly Bruce Pearl, and they haven't talked to him yet.

  • JerryCT

    Are you on crack or mushrooms or is it me.

    I cannot see either in my wildest hallucinations. Memphis will have to go 2nd tier like before. Butler guy, WKU guy or even Xavier guy is what they will go for. Maybe Larry Eustachy if he is not too drunk to sign.

    Happy to see Tony Bennett at UVA. I wish him luck.

  • JerryCT

    Are you on crack or mushrooms or is it me.

    I cannot see either in my wildest hallucinations. Memphis will have to go 2nd tier like before. Butler guy, WKU guy or even Xavier guy is what they will go for. Maybe Larry Eustachy if he is not too drunk to sign.

    Happy to see Tony Bennett at UVA. I wish him luck.

  • JerryCT

    Are you on crack or mushrooms or is it me.

    I cannot see either in my wildest hallucinations. Memphis will have to go 2nd tier like before. Butler guy, WKU guy or even Xavier guy is what they will go for. Maybe Larry Eustachy if he is not too drunk to sign.

    Happy to see Tony Bennett at UVA. I wish him luck.

  • jjwires

    I really hope that the Spartans can win it all. Penn State won an exciting game tonight in the NIT. Our conference would look pretty good if we won the NCAA too. I'm so sick of hearing how strong the Big East is!

  • jjwires

    I really hope that the Spartans can win it all. Penn State won an exciting game tonight in the NIT. Our conference would look pretty good if we won the NCAA too. I'm so sick of hearing how strong the Big East is!

  • jjwires

    I really hope that the Spartans can win it all. Penn State won an exciting game tonight in the NIT. Our conference would look pretty good if we won the NCAA too. I'm so sick of hearing how strong the Big East is!

  • ALH_00

    I totally agree. Purdue really controlled UCONN's half-court offense. How many 15-footers did Adrien miss? Thabeet is a “clean-up” guy”; not someone who consistently succeeds creating his own offense from the post. UCONN's strength is scoring in transition. MSU should have the athletes, physicality, and bench to limit that. But, MSU has offensive problems too (shooting…and the complete disappearing act of Morgan). This should be a great game.

  • ALH_00

    I totally agree. Purdue really controlled UCONN's half-court offense. How many 15-footers did Adrien miss? Thabeet is a “clean-up” guy”; not someone who consistently succeeds creating his own offense from the post. UCONN's strength is scoring in transition. MSU should have the athletes, physicality, and bench to limit that. But, MSU has offensive problems too (shooting…and the complete disappearing act of Morgan). This should be a great game.

  • ALH_00

    I totally agree. Purdue really controlled UCONN's half-court offense. How many 15-footers did Adrien miss? Thabeet is a “clean-up” guy”; not someone who consistently succeeds creating his own offense from the post. UCONN's strength is scoring in transition. MSU should have the athletes, physicality, and bench to limit that. But, MSU has offensive problems too (shooting…and the complete disappearing act of Morgan). This should be a great game.

  • ALH_00

    I totally agree. Purdue really controlled UCONN's half-court offense. How many 15-footers did Adrien miss? Thabeet is a “clean-up” guy”; not someone who consistently succeeds creating his own offense from the post. UCONN's strength is scoring in transition. MSU should have the athletes, physicality, and bench to limit that. But, MSU has offensive problems too (shooting…and the complete disappearing act of Morgan). This should be a great game.

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