Three couldn’t be much more of a shift from one weekend to another for Michigan State. After spending a weekend playing against grind-it-out teams, the Spartans are preparing for a complete change of pace and style of play.
”Run, run, run, run, man,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “It will be the reverse opposite of what we just went through (against Virginia).”
The Spartans fought through the toughness of No. 10 Georgia in a 70-63 win before downing No. 2 seed Virginia in a hard-fought 60-54 win. But where the Bulldogs and Cavaliers were bruising, rebounding and deliberate, the Sooners are a challenge in a different right.
With a three-headed guard attack, led by Big 12 player of the year Buddy Hield, the Sooners are all about the up-and-down.
‘They are a transition team and they like to get the easy shots,” junior Denzel Valentine said. “They’ve got really good scoring guards, so we will have to get back.”
Senior Travis Trice said the way Oklahoma looks to attack is not only a change of pace from the first two games of the tournament for the Spartans, but goes back into Big Ten play.
”They are kinda unique to some of the other teams we played late in the season,” Trice said. “A lot of times we saw on film they were shooting shots 10 seconds into the clock.
”Our thing is we gotta get back, stop them and still be able to run ourselves.”
Trice noted the Spartans are built on running and gunning as well.
”I think it’s getting back to what we like to do as well,” he said.
So the opportunity change the pace and see a different look is welcome for the Spartans, which Valentine said he relishes.
“It’s going to be an up and down game,” he said, “and a lot of chances to be in transition and that’s what I’m best at and a couple guys on the team are best at.
”It’s going to be a fun game just going up and down.”