Michigan State Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten (23-11, 12-6)


It was not a typical beginning to the season for Tom Izzo.  After 12 games, they were 9-3 and did not look like a team that could compete for a Big Ten title.  They did not look like a tournament team either, but you can never count out a Michigan State team.  At the end of the season, they ended up with a double-bye in the conference tournament and made it to the NCAA Tournament.  Coach Izzo keeps his teams in the mix no matter how bleak it looks in December.

Big Wins: 1/8 at Iowa (75-61), 2/14 Ohio State (59-56), 3/7 at Indiana (74-72)
Bad Losses: 12/20 Texas Southern (64-71), 2/7 Illinois (54-59), 2/26 Minnesota (90-96)
Coach: Tom Izzo

Why They Can Surprise:
Tom Izzo and experience.  Michigan State is in the mix every year under Izzo.  They have not missed the tournament since 1997.  Other than the freshmen on this team, all of the players are familiar with the stakes in the NCAA Tournament.  There is no doubt that they will be prepared.  They have a squad with Denzel Valentine, Travis Trice and Branden Dawson.  All are seasoned veterans that can play an inside-out game.  They can play patient or play with urgency.  They are adaptable to different styles and to different opponents.  There are multiple scoring options for Michigan State, which is reflected in their 17 assists per game (fourth best in the nation).  The Spartans have also played against some of the best competition (Duke, Kansas, Notre Dame) out of conference.  They will not be daunted come tournament time.  

Why They Can Disappoint:
Michigan State has produced some head-scratching duds throughout the season.  Izzo has to hope that poor play does not afflict them in late March.  They lost two home games against marginal Big Ten competition in Illinois and Minnesota (not to mention an early season home loss to Texas Southern).  Valentine and company always seemed to bounce back, but they will not get that opportunity come tournament time.  Despite their strong nonconference schedule, the Spartans did not get favorable results in those games.  A team with scoring talent could spell the end for Michigan State.

Probable Starters:
Travis Trice, Senior, Guard, 14.9 ppg, 5.1 apg
Lourawls Nairn Jr., Freshman, Guard, 2.3 ppg, 2.4 apg
Denzel Valentine, Junior, Guard, 14.4 ppg, 4.4 apg, 6.1 rpg
Branden Dawson, Senior, Forward, 11.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Gavin Schilling, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Bryn Forbes, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Matt Costello, Junior, Forward, 7.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Alvin Ellis III, Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (63rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.9 (82, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1 (33, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (39, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (56, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.1 (40, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 62.7 (334, 14)
Rebound Margin: 7.0 (14, 1)
Assists Per Game: 17.0 (4, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (81, 8)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NCAA    Second Round win over Delaware
2014    NCAA    Third Round win over Harvard
2014    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Virginia
2014    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Connecticut
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over Valparaiso
2013    NCAA    Third Round win over Memphis
2013    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Duke
2012    NCAA    Second Round win over Long Island
2012    NCAA    Third Round win over St. Louis
2012    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Louisville
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to UCLA
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over New Mexico State
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Maryland
2010    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Northern Iowa
2010    NCAA    Regional Final win over Tennessee
2010    NCAA    National Semifinal loss to Butler
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Robert Morris
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over USC
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Kansas
2009    NCAA    Regional Final win over Louisville
2009    NCAA    National Semifinal win over Connecticut
2009    NCAA    National Final loss to North Carolina
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Temple
2008    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Pittsburgh
2008    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Memphis
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Marquette
2007    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to North Carolina

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules