Michigan State Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten (29-5, 13-5)
Leave it to Tom Izzo and Michigan State to come out of the gate on fire after not-so-lofty expectations entering the season. Sure, the Spartans would be good, but spending four weeks at number one in the nation was unexpected. The Spartans, led by potential player of the year Denzel Valentine, came out swinging against the likes of Kansas and Louisville. Valentine has played the best basketball of his career, ripping off triple-doubles with some frequency. Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes have also been excellent all season. Remarkably, the Spartans have not been at full strength all year either and they have been winning the old fashioned way: excellent coaching by Izzo. No one ever wants to play an Izzo-coached team in March. This year is no different.
Big Wins: 11/17 vs Kansas (79-73), 12/2 Louisville (71-67), 1/23 Maryland (74-65)
Bad Losses: 1/14 Iowa (59-76), 1/17 at Wisconsin (76-77), 1/20 Nebraska (71-72)
Coach: Tom Izzo
Why They Can Surprise:
Michigan State has to be thinking about a second consecutive Final Four bid this postseason. They obviously have valuable experience between players and coaches, but frankly their talent level is a big reason for that. They are very well balanced and share the ball as well as anybody in the country. Valentine might well be the most versatile player in the country not named Ben Simmons. He can score in volume, but he is an incredible decision maker too. The Spartans always seem to find the open man and spread out the defense by hitting outside shots. Down low, Costello and Gavin Schilling do a lot of scrappy work. Add in freshman Deyonta Davis and they have some athletic size underneath. Michigan State’s ability to rebound also sets them apart. They are the conference leader in offensive rebounding, which leads to a boatload of second chance points. Coach Izzo manages one of the deepest benches in the country and it’s hard to match up to them player-to-player. This team has all the makings of title contender.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Michigan State hit a mid-season lull and dropped three straight games, including a shocker at home to Nebraska. There are two things that could prevent a deep run for the Spartans: health and Bryn Forbes. If Tum Tum Nairn, the starting point guard, can return to the lineup to provide the team speed Michigan State likes to play with, then the Spartans have a great shot to win it all. If he is not 100% or is limited in his playing time, Michigan State will not have much backcourt depth or versatility to grind out six straight wins. Additionally, Forbes has been stellar this season from behind the arc. He adds an element to this team that puts them over the top. When he has poor shooting nights, the team struggles. There is no coincidence there. If he cannot find his rhythm, it could spell a short run for Izzo and company.
Probable Starters:
Denzel Valentine, Senior, Guard, 19.5 ppg, 7.7 apg, 7.6 rpg
Bryn Forbes, Senior, Guard, 14.4 ppg, 1.4 apg
Eron Harris, Junior, Guard, 9.3 ppg, 2.1 apg
Deyonta Davis, Freshman, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Matt Costello, Senior, Forward, 10.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Key Roleplayers:
Lourawls Nairn Jr., Sophomore, Guard, 3.0 ppg, 3.4 apg
Matt McQuaid, Freshman, Guard, 3.4 ppg, 1.6 apg
Gavin Schilling, Junior, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Javon Bess, Sophomore, Forward, 3.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Marvin Clark, Jr., Sophomore, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.7 (22nd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.8 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.8 (13, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.7 (2, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.2 (26, 3)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (1, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.1 (90, 6)
Rebound Margin:  11.9 (1, 1)
Assists Per Game:  21.0 (1, 1)
Turnovers Per Game:  12.0 (101, 9)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NCAA Second Round win over Georgia
2015    NCAA Third Round win over Virginia
2015    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Oklahoma
2015    NCAA Regional Final win over Louisville
2015    NCAA National Semifinal loss to Duke
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 3/6