Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness Midwest Region Part 2

No. 2 seed Michigan State Spartans:

Why they will win it all: Michigan State is probably the deepest team in the tournament, they had 10 players who averaged at least nine minutes a game. Their offense is led by sophomore guard Kalin Lucas and junior forward Raymar Morgan. Each averaged over 10 points a game and compliment one another with Lucas offering the outside shot and Morgan being a force inside. Morgan is supported inside by senior center Goran Suton. Suton doesn't excel at any one aspect but is solid across the board. He's even become somewhat of an outside shooter adding another threat to the Michigan State offense.

Why they won't win it all: Michigan State lacks a star presence to take over a game or that could take that game winning shot. They have a lot of solid to good players but don't have that one great player. Despite having decent size they weren't a good rebounding team this season and will only struggle when facing more athletic competition from other conferences. They are an average shooting team hitting only 45.5% of their shots and less than 36% of their 3-pointers. They struggled from the free throw line making just 68% of their attempts.

Player to watch: Kalin Lucas. Lucas is the one player who can be the dynamic scorer the Spartans need. He's a solid 3-point threat and was the Spartans second best free throw shooter, hitting 80% of his shots from the line. Lucas is also a good passer and helps set up the offense for his inside men.

Prediction: Michigan State should be able to make it through the first two rounds with relative ease but aren't a safe bet to advance past the Sweet 16. A potential match-up with West Virginia doesn't favor the Spartans. Michigan State lacks the size and big play ability to compete with the Mountaineers.

Other teams to watch: The 6th seed West Virginia Mountaineers can be a dangerous team in this bracket. They have three offensive stars in senior guard Alex Ruoff, junior forward De'Sean Butler and freshman forward Devin Ebanks. Ebanks had a strong Big East Tournament and has been getting better all year. The Mountaineers are quick and athletic and have a very heady leader in Ruoff. Ruoff is a smart veteran player who can be deadly from the 3-point line. The 4 seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons are another team that bears watching in this tournament. They match up well with the Louisville Cardinals and could be the team that knocks them off. The Deacons are led by a pair of sophomores, guard Jeff Teague and forward James Johnson. Teague is one of the best shooters in the nation and plays great defense.

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