Friday, March 27, 2009

Kansas vs. Michigan State Sweet 16 Preview

Why Kansas Can Win: Cole Aldrich. These teams are almost identical, except for the fact that Kansas has Aldrich in the paint. Yes, MSU has some good big men (Suton, Roe, Green), but none of them are as much of a "presence" as Aldrich is. The Spartans are not a great three point shooting team, and instead rely on a group of slashers/penetrators that can go get offensive rebounds. Aldrich is a difference maker, in that he not only can block shots, but he also cleans up the defensive glass.

Why Michigan State Can Win: Because they already have. Back on January 10th, these two teams squared off in the Breslin Center, and the Spartans just about ran the Jayhawks off the court, jumping out to a 37-18 halftime lead. Yes, this is a different Jayhawk team as the freshmen have gained more experience, but this is also a different Spartan team in that they appear to finally be healthy. The biggest issue for the Spartans is going to be whether or not Raymar Morgan decides to show up. Morgan is supposedly back to 100% after dealing with a case of mono, but he has scored double figures just once in his last five games.

Key To The Game: Sherron Collins vs. Kalin Lucas. In the first match-up, Lucas got the best of Collins. While Collins outscored him 25-22, he also committed 8 turnovers. It is no secret that right now, as Collins goes, so go the Jayhawks (think about the 26 he had against Oklahoma and the 3-19 he put up against Texas Tech in the blowout loss). As I mentioned in the Sweet 16 preview post, this is probably the best 1-on-1 match-up in the round of 16. If Lucas can once again outplay Collins, the Spartans may be headed to another Elite 8. Random stat of the day - Michigan State is 13-2 during the second weekend in Tom Izzo's 12 years at the helm.

BIAH Pick: As much as we love Aldrich and Collins right now, I can't bet against Izzo in a situation where he is going up against a team full of freshmen and sophomores in the dance.

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