Question: What do you see in Michigan State?
Lute Olson: "They have a 49-game home winning streak, which is the longest active streak in the country, so that creates an interesting challenge for us. It's an indication for us that you have to play your best in order to get a chance to win in the Breslin Center.
"Their team is in a similar situation as ours, in terms of having lost a number of guys last year, and I think Tom (Izzo) just has nine guys on scholarships, as do we. And they have three guys who played a lot last year in (Aloysius) Anagonye, (Adam) Ballinger, and (Marcus) Taylor. Ricky (Anderson) of course didn't play last year, but Luke (Walton) and Jason (Gardner) played a lot, so that's sort of similar. Plus, they have two freshmen listed in the starting lineup just as we always have.
"They are primarily a man-to-man (defensive)team, but they will play some 2-3 match-up zone. Their greatest strength is the ability to rebound. That's because they send four guys to the offensive boards. Which means we need to rebound well, but if we do rebound well, that will leave them vulnerable to a fast break off our defensive glass."
Question: What do their young guys bring to the table?
Olson: "They are undefeated at home, and generally with freshmen, the home court and home crowd are usually like a security blanket. I'm sure Tom (Izzo) would say the same thing about his young guys. Some games they play really well, some games they don't. The good thing with us is if one guy isn't playing a really good game, we usually get one of the other guys to step up."
Question: Has it been an advantage to play three Big Ten opponents in a row?
Olson: "I think it does from the standpoint of facing teams that are really physical, but Texas was (physical) also. But when I think about it, we haven't played anyone who wasn't really physical. The Big Ten style of play is generally very physical, and many of the teams are very half-court oriented. But I think Michigan State is wide open."