Prediction: MSU outscores Delaware today
SPOKANE, Wash., — From the NCAA Tournament, State News basketball reporters Matt Sheehan and Zach Smith predict MSU’s opening game against Delaware.
Who’s ready for an old, overused cliche? You are? Awesome, well let me lay it on you: “Never overlook your opponent.”
But seriously, MSU should not overlook who they will be opening up the NCAA Tournament against.
Yes, hearing “Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens” doesn’t strike fear in basketball fans’ hearts, but they have the potential to play David to MSU’s Goliath.
Delaware primarily plays with a six-man rotation, but those six players are talented, fast and experienced.
Senior guards Devon Saddler and Davon Usher combine for more than 39 points per game. Junior guard Jarvis Threatt averages a cool 18.1 points per game.
Plain and simple, the Hens will fill the hoops — it’s just a question if MSU’s backcourt can slow them down.
I see Gary Harris and Branden Dawson dominating on defense as usual, but someone else needs to step up to totally contain the Hens.
Not a lot of people saw it, but Travis Trice was plastering his man, usually Derrick Walton Jr., in the final against Michigan.
Also, expect Adreian Payne to have a good game on offense. If he stays out of foul trouble, I can see him scoring north of 20 points. And Russell Byrd will score two 3-pointers, because it’s March Madness, baby.
Fightin’ Blue Hens, you have the better nickname in this matchup, but MSU has the better team in this somewhat close game.
MSU: 79 Delaware: 74
The Spartans are going to fry the Blue Hens’ egg today and advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
But in all honesty, MSU isn’t going to play as bad as that joke was.
This is going to be a back-and-forth game that favors the team with the deeper bench, which is by far MSU.
Expect Harris and Dawson to continue their strong play from the Big Ten Tournament, especially on the defensive end.
Usher and Saddler are two high-scoring guards, and Usher is in the Dawson mold at 6-foot-6 with the ability to both shoot and drive.
I think both of them give the Spartans more fits than expected, but MSU has too much depth and talent to let two players take over a game.
Keith Appling will rack up the assists with such a run and gun offense and Harris and Valentine will both score at will.
It will be interesting to see how, or if, the Spartans stay out of foul trouble.
Oddsmakers in Las Vegas have MSU by double digits, and I agree.
MSU: 85 Delaware: 75