Tom Izzo has done it again as he has taken the seventh-seed Spartans to the Sweet Sixteen, and just having him on the sideline has to be scary for any opponent. Kansas State pulled a minor upset over the Kentucky Wildcats, and the fact that they, as a three-seed, were the underdog to the sixth-seeded Wildcats shows you the lack of respect that the Wildcats get.
Kansas State excels at guarding the three-pointer.
Kentucky may not have had much success from the outside, but their defense played a major role in their loss on Sunday.
Kansas State might have turned over too many times against Kentucky, but point guard Markquis Nowell made up for it with his incredible 360-degree vision and impressive quarterbacking skillset. Nowell didn’t turn the ball over a single time.
Yes, the Wildcats like to move and are better in transition and on offense, but they’re just as capable in low-scoring situations as well.
With their 75-69 win, they are now 20-1 when allowing fewer than 70 points and 18-0 when giving up less than 69.
Michigan State’s defense. The Spartans’ defense got them here and if they advance farther than this it will be because of the defense.
Overall, its performance wasn’t particularly remarkable throughout the season. It didn’t force many errors and was far too inconsistent, but nonetheless managed to contain Marquette’s high-powered team by slowing down their pace and upping the intensity.
Steals weren’t part of Michigan State’s defensive repertoire this season, yet they came up with nine in their 69-60 win against the Golden Eagles.
Despite not hitting from three, Michigan State still managed to pull off an upset; after all, their defense usually is one of the best in the nation from the outside looking in.
Kansas State faces a formidable combination of defensive pressure from three and free throw line ability – Kansas State commits many fouls! – that could prove beneficial for the Spartans.
These two teams have not played this season.
Michigan State is 10-0 when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer, and 11-12 when it fails.
Kansas State has only failed to score more than 60 goals once this year.
Yes, the Spartans will keep up their defensive intensity, and yes, it has time to figure out how to contain Nowell. But that won’t be enough.
Kansas State will be too good at guarding against the outside to allow Michigan State to make the mistakes it did against Marquette and get away with it.
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