Michigan State Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten (26-8, 12-6)


When healthy, Michigan State has been a tough team to beat. They began Big Ten play 7-0. After falling to Michigan at home on January 25th, the Spartans never won back-to-back games throughout the entire regular season. The inability to gain any momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament has many Spartan fans worried.

Big Wins: 11/12 vs. Kentucky (78-74), 11/23 vs. Oklahoma (87-76), 12/21 at Texas (92-78)
Bad Losses: 2/1 vs. Georgetown (60-64), 2/16 Nebraska (51-60), 3/1 Illinois (46-53)
Coach: Tom Izzo (19 seasons at Michigan State)

Why They Can Surprise:
The good news about all of the injuries is that the Spartans have developed some depth. Players like versatile swingman Denzel Valentine, sharpshooter Travis Trice and big man Matt Costello have seen a lot more minutes than expected and have performed quite well. Valentine averages 8.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists, Trice connects on 44.0 percent of his three-point attempts and Costello is very tough on the glass and a fine shot blocker. Throw them in the rotation with established stars Keith Appling, Gary Harris, Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne and Coach Tom Izzo has a lot of talent at his disposal.

Why They Can Disappoint:
By Michigan State standards, this is not a strong rebounding team. They rank third in the Big Ten in rebounding margin, but the Spartans are used to ranking first and among the best in the country. Payne is a beast in the paint on both ends of the floor and Dawson, a 6-6 wing, leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per game, but Coach Izzo expects more. The Spartan offense can also be stagnant at times. This is not a team that gets many easy points at the charity stripe and that can add up pretty quickly. If Michigan State can pull together, they have the talent to reach the Final Four and continue Coach Izzo’s streak of sending all four year players to the Final Four at least once in their careers. On March 1st MSU lost at home to Illinois 53-46 and if the offense sputters again, March will end the same way it began.

Probable Starters:
Keith Appling, Senior, Guard, 12.3 ppg, 4.6 apg
Gary Harris, Sophomore, Guard, 17.1 ppg, 2.7 apg, 2.0 spg
Denzel Valentine, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 3.9 apg, 6.0 rpg
Branden Dawson, Junior, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 1.7 apg, 8.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg
Adreian Payne, Senior, Forward, 15.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Matt Costello, Sophomore, Forward, 4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Travis Trice, Junior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 2.4 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.2 (54th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.8 (67, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (37, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.2 (36, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (23, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.5 (15, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.6 (186, 10)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (43, 3)
Assists Per Game: 17.2 (6, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (104, 9)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
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 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules