current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

already a subscriber? Register me
Subscribe now See my options
Men's College Basketball
Preview
Michigan St vs Oklahoma
When: 10:07 PM ET, Friday, March 27, 2015
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, New York

As a No. 7 seed, Michigan State wasn't expected to do much damage in the NCAA Tournament but has emerged as the team to beat in the East Regional. The Spartans meet third-seeded Oklahoma in the East semifinals on Friday in Syracuse, N.Y., and coach Tom Izzo couldn't be more pleased with at least two aspects of his team's game. "Our defensive effort in the NCAA Tournament has been unbelievable,'' Izzo told reporters. "The other thing that's been unbelievable is our turnovers" as Michigan State has committed only 15 in its first two games, including six in Sunday's 60-54 victory over second-seeded Virginia.

The Spartans, who reached the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in the last eight years, are a two-point favorite despite the Sooners being a No. 3 seed. Oklahoma, though, has won 12 of its last 15 games and provides Michigan State with challenges on the perimeter and in the paint. "... What I've seen is they've played really good basketball in the last month, six weeks,'' Sooners coach Lon Kruger told the Detroit Free Press about his team. "Why are they better than before? I certainly don't have that answer, nor am I concerned about that. I'm concerned about how good they're playing right now."

TV: 10:07 p.m. ET, TBS

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (25-11): The Spartans, who have won 10 of their last 13 games with two of the losses coming against No. 1 West seed Wisconsin, held Georgia and Virginia to 31.6 percent shooting from the field and 19.4 percent from 3-point range. Branden Dawson, a 6-6 senior swingman, is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the tournament while senior guard and leading scorer Travis Trice (15 points per game) scored 23 versus Virginia and 15 against Georgia. Michigan State, which has led for more than 76 minutes in its two NCAA games, must improve from the free-throw line as it has converted 31-of-52 in the tournament.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA (24-10): Kruger has utilized the same starting lineup in every game this season with junior guard Buddy Hield - the Big 12 Player of the Year - leading the way at 17.3 points per game after scoring 15 in each of the Sooners' two NCAA contests. The Sooners also possess a pair of threats down low in senior forward TaShawn Thomas (11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds) and junior forward Ryan Spangler (9.9, 8.2), who grabbed 23 boards in the last two contests. Oklahoma, which is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009, has 423 assists against 412 turnovers in 34 games - compared to 607 and 410 in 36 contests for Michigan State.

TIP-INS

1. Kruger is the only coach in Division I history to win an NCAA Tournament game with five schools - Oklahoma, UNLV, Illinois, Florida and Kansas State - and the second to take four (Oklahoma, UNLV, Florida and Kansas State) to the Sweet 16 (Eddie Sutton).

2. This is Michigan State's 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 13th trip to the Sweet 16 during that span - trailing only Duke (14).

3. The Sooners record 71.9 points and 38.1 rebounds per game while the Spartans average 71.9 and 37.7.

PREDICTION: Michigan State 68, Oklahoma 65
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Michigan St 25-11 W2 12-4 7-4 6-3 8-8 17-3 13-7
Oklahoma 24-10 W2 14-1 5-6 5-3 11-2 13-8 13-7
Last Meeting
Michigan St Oklahoma
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/23/13 OKLA 76 MSU 87 87 39 50.0 76 28 43.1
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St K. Appling 27 66.7 10
Oklahoma C. Clark 32 64.7 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St B. Dawson 10 3 7
Oklahoma C. Clark 7 1 6
Assists Player  
Michigan St D. Valentine 5
Oklahoma J. Woodard 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Michigan St T. Trice 540 39.4 105
Oklahoma B. Hield 589 41.2 103
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Michigan St B. Dawson 289 92 197
Oklahoma R. Spangler 279 82 197
Assists Player  
Michigan St T. Trice 186
Oklahoma J. Woodard 133
Quickchart Matchup
Michigan St Off vs  Oklahoma Defense
71.5 Points For
62.8 Points Against
47.0 FG%
38.6 FG%
34.9 Reb
33.2 Reb
Oklahoma Off vs  Michigan St Defense
71.9 Points For
63.1 Points Against
43.7 FG%
39.5 FG%
33.2 Reb
27.9 Reb