What the National Experts are Saying
The CNNSI.com experts have divergent opinions about Michigan State’s prospects in the tournament. Two of them (Davis and Mandel) pick Temple to upset them in the first round. Anderson has them winning one game, Wahl says two games, and Luke Winn has them in the Elite Eight.
Two of ESPN.com’s five experts (Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis) list MSU as their “sleeper” to make the Final Four out of the South regional. All five pick potential MSU third-round opponent Memphis as the first #1 seed that will lose. Not sure if that’s good or bad karma for us.
Kenpom’s algorithm gives MSU the following odds of advancing to each round:
- 2nd round: 79.3%
- Sweet 16: 49.9%
- Elite 8: 16.5%
- Final 4: 7.2%
- Tournament final: 2.7%
- National champion: 0.7%
Coin flip to advance to the second weekend. Implied odds of only about a 33% chance of beating Memphis if we get that far.
On the potential MSU-Pitt match-up in the second round, Pomeroy says:
Pitt versus Michigan State is a possible second-round matchup featuring ugly but effective offenses that rely on second and third shots for success. Neither team is skilled in making shots or is as effective preventing putbacks.
On first reading, I thought the part about the teams not being “skilled in making shots” was incorrect in MSU’s case, at least in terms of their season average. But their effective FG% of 52.5% has dropped to just 68th in the nation–about at the median of the 65 NCAA Tournament teams. The statement is even more applicable to Pitt, which has an effective FG% of 51.1% (12oth in the nation). The rebounding dichotomy on the two ends of the floor is striking for Pitt: they rank 10th in the nation in offensive rebounding %, but just 201st in defensive rebounding % (MSU’s ranks are 7th and 91st).
What the Local Media is Saying
Joe Rexrode has the defensive match-ups for tomorrow’s game. Lucas will start the game on the versatile Mark Tyndale. I’d still expect Walton to guard Tyndale once he enters the game. Morgan will guard Dionte Christmas–bad from a standpoint of Morgan having to chase a smaller player, good from the perspective of Morgan not picking up fouls guarding the slashing Tyndale.
On the Temple side, the local media wonders whether Suton and Morgan will pose problems for the small Temple lineup and points to increased playing time for 5’8″ Chris Clark (42.2% 3-pt %) and playing well in second half of a loss to Duke on January 9 as factors that led to Temple turning their season around.
What are You Saying?
How are you feeling going into tomorrow’s game? Can Izzo pull the March magic out of his hat again? Which player do you think needs to come up big? Inquiring minds want to know.
Also, it’s unclear whether and how closely I’ll be able to watch the game in real time tomorrow. Feel free to use the comments section of this post to share any thoughts you have during or after the game.