Friday, March 29, 2013

Michigan State vs. Duke Breakdown & Prediction

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke
Time: 9:37 p.m.
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium
Records: Michigan State 27-8; Duke 29-5
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Keith Appling (13.3 ppg); Rebounds – Adreian Payne (7.5 rpg); Assists – Appling (3.4 apg); Steals – Branden Dawson (1.6 spg).
Duke stat leaders: Points – Seth Curry (17.3 ppg); Rebounds – Mason Plumlee (10.0 rpg); Assists – Quinn Cook (5.4 apg); Steals – Cook (1.5 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan State W2, Duke W2
Point Spread: Duke -2.5
Prediction: This game certainly feels bigger than a Sweet 16 contest. Two of the most successful programs in college basketball, with two of the best coaches, meeting up tonight. There is no question that Michigan State can win this game. Duke is good, but I don’t think the Blue Devils are any better than the Spartans on paper. MSU matches up well with Duke in my opinion. I think the Spartans have the bodies to keep Mason Plumlee from controlling the paint, and I think they have the athletic guards and forwards to pose problems for Seth Curry. If Michigan State makes a commitment to defending the perimeter, it should win this game. Part of this game will be determined by how well Duke shoots. The Blue Devils haven’t been lighting it up from 3-point land as of late, but can certainly get hot. I question how strong Keith Appling’s shoulder will be in this game and I am not sure if Gary Harris can continue to shoot well on the outside. This is the biggest game of Harris’ career, and the freshman could get lost in the moment. At the beginning of the tournament I picked Duke to win this game. I actually feel better about the Spartans’ chances, but I am going to stick with my original pick. I think Duke will shoot lights out and be able to fend off MSU. Duke 70, Michigan State 67.

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