UConn (29-8) vs. Michigan State (29-8)When: 2:20 p.m. EST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
|#3||Alvin Ellis III||36||1||7.9||1.9||48.0||0.6||0.4||0.4||0.1|
What You Should Know
Scouting Michigan StateMichigan State was a preseason top five team that had injuries that took them off that 1-line for much of the year. The talent? It's there for the Spartans, who are looking very much like one of the nation's top teams heading down the stretch winning the B1G tournament. Michigan State is led by 6-foot-10 C Adreian Payne, a load inside and averaging 16.2 ppg. The Spartans have the versatile Branden Dawson (11.w ppg, 8.2 rpg.) and have four players average in double figures led by Garry Harris at 16.6 ppg. Michigan State has a lot of weapons, but is a classic defense first team and is holding teams to under 40 percent shooting on the year. Keith Appling and Harris are two terrific guards that will matchp with Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier. Michigan State is a good passing team and is shooting 47.9 percent from the floor. Add in the defense, which is still its strength, and it's an imposing matchup for the Huskies.
"I don't want to see a person get 34 points. But we did a great job on Ejim, who is a Big‑12 Player of the Year. I think Amida started it with his length, making him shoot over the top. We are going to have to do the same thing with Adreian Payne, but then Dawson, we got to keep him off the backboard. I thought we did that in spurts last night, but we have to do it at a level five tomorrow's game at 2:30. We're going to have to hit first. We're going to have to commit to hit. We're going to have to corral basketballs and 50/50 situations, where it's could either go their way or our way. We got to get every one of those balls. Because they're a tough‑minded team. And I think we're tough, too. Instead I think I know we're tough. We got some resilience in us and guys are going to fight through.
"But we have to do the small things, we got to box out, we have to limit their second‑chance points and we got to get back in transition to establish our five‑on‑five defense."