Michigan State (#2, Midwest, Minneapolis pod)
Vs. Robert Morris (#15)
Fri., 3/20 at 9:50 PM
Vegas Line: Michigan State, -17
Thanks to Vegas Watch for providing these graphs that measure the moving average of a team’s spread (moving avg.) over time vs. the spread for each individual game (indiv). If a team’s moving average is higher than zero, then Vegas currently has a higher opinion of them than Pomeroy, and vice versa.
Location: East Lansing, MI
Conference: Big 10, At-large
Coach: Tom Izzo, 14th season, 331-135
08-09 Record: 26-6 overall, 15-3 in the Big 10
Last 12 Games: 9-3
Best Win: At Illinois on March 1st (74-66)
Worst Loss: Playing what was essentially a home game in Detroit on December 3rd against #1 UNC, the Spartans lost by 35 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 112.7; 34th
Def. Efficiency Rating: 88.4; 10th
Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Kalin Lucas (14.8 PPG and 4.4 APG); Raymar Morgan (10.8 PPG and 5.7 RPG)
Unsung Hero: Goran Suton (9.5 PPG and 7.6 RPG)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Morgan (42nd in 2010). Delvon Roe has the potential to be a late first or early second round pick. Lucas and Durrell Summers will probably be 2nd round picks as well whenever they comes out.
Key Injuries: None
Depth: 36.6% (48th nationally); percentage of minutes played by reserves
Achilles Heel: Inexperience. Despite having 2 seniors and a junior in the starting line-up many of the Spartans are quite young. Will they be able to hold up under the March pressure?
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Raymar Morgan returns to the form he showed before he had atypical pneumonia, which sidelined him for more than 2 weeks and it took him a while to play well after he returned.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Their inexperience leads to too many turnovers.
Last Year Invited: 2008; lost to Memphis in the Sweet 16
Streak: 12th straight year
Best NCAA Finish: National champions (1979 and 2000)
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present):+0.23. The Spartans win 0.23 more games per year than they would be expected to based on the historical performance of teams with the same seed.
Six Degrees to Detroit: Besides the fact that it’s a 91.2 mile drive from the Breslin Center to Ford Field where the Final 4 is this year? The Spartans roster features 9 players from the state of Michigan. Durrell Summers takes home the prize as being the closest to Detroit having gone to high school at Redford Covenant.
Distance to First Round Site: 628 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: A former Spartan point guard holds the record for most assists in a NBA game (Scott Skiles) while another Spartan point guard holds the unofficial record for being the most supportive teammate in NBA history (Mateen Cleaves). They also had a point guard named Magic Johnson who wasn’t too bad at either of those two things himself.
School Wishes It Could Forget: The John L. Smith era, which can be summed up in this amazing meltdown by a local sports radio host.
Prediction: The Spartans have all the pieces in place to make a storybook run to play in the Final 4 in what would be essentially home games, but I get the funny feeling that USC is going to make a run and take them out in the 2nd round because I think that it’s a bad match-up for the Spartans.
Major RTC stories: N/A.
Preview written by Rush the Court