East - No. 4 Michigan St vs. No. 13 Delaware

Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: East Region – No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Delaware

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Michigan State -15
Why To Pick Delaware: If you're going to face a team like Michigan State, just put the pedal to the metal and gun it. There's no way a 13-seed can slug it out with the Spartans, and Delware won't even with the ability to get up and down the floor enough to make it a dangerous battle. The Blue Hens gave Villanova all it could handle in Nobember, and while there have been some duds along the way, the offense should be able to bomb away.
Why To Pick Michigan State: If Delaware doesn't hit its shots from the outside, that's it – there won't be any offensive rebounds whatoever. This isn't your older brother's Michigan State team – it doesn't get into slugfests. It's more about ball movement and bombing away. Delaware might be able to score, but they can't beat the Spartans in a firefight.
The Pick: Michigan State 81-70. The Spartans will be comfortable, but there will be moments when it gets a little too tight. One or two big second half runs will end the drama.

Michigan State Spartans
Head coach: Tom Izzo Record: 26-8 Conference: Big Ten

What You Need To Know: The Spartans are talented, but they've been beaten up all season leading to an inconsistent campaign. However, they're getting healthy and hot at the right time, and if anything, now they appear to be fresh with the key parts back and rolling. The duo of Gary Harris and Adreian Payne provide an inside-outside threat that's tough to match up with. Harris is a confident scorer who is great off the dribble but also can knock down the long three, and he's a strong defender as well. Payne has been banged up this year, but healthy again, he's a man in the post and can dominate on the glass. Offensively, he has also has developed some range, and he isn't afraid to pull the trigger if given some room. Branden Dawson is a versatile swingman, and senior guard Keith Appling is a good passer and defender who's at his best when he's pushing the tempo. As always under Tom Izzo, MSU is a quality defensive team that will play with a chip on its shoulder.
Strengths: Assists, Three Point Shooting, Rebounding
Weaknesses: Turnovers, Free Throws
How Far Will They Go?: Don't get too caught up in the great run to the Big Ten championship. Yes, the Spartans are getting hot at the right time, and yes, they're healthy again and relatively rested. Even so, don't be surprised if Cincinnati's tough defense provides a big problem and don't dismiss Virginia in the Sweet 16.

Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
Head coach: Monté Ross Record: 25-9 Conference: Colonial Athletic Association

What You Need To Know: Delaware earned its fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 75-74 win over William & Mary in the CAA title game helped by one of the best offensive attacks in the country. The Fighting' Blue Hens averaged nearly 80 points a game, but they don't really worry about a go-to scorer. Instead, they boast a wicked balance with both Devon Saddler and Davon Usher averaging better than 19 points a game. Jarvis Threatt chips in 18.1 points per outing while also doing good work hitting the glass. Threatt also is a fantastic passer, doing a great job of getting the ball to his teammates in a position to score. Forward Carl Baptiste is Delaware's biggest player at 6-9, and he's a solid scorer who also can run the floor. Defense, along with size, are the biggest issues for this up-tempo squad.
Strengths: Scoring, Turnover Margin, Three Point Shooting
Weaknesses: Assists, Rebounding, Scoring Defense
How Far Will They Go?: They'll burn some calories against Michigan State, and that will be it.