George Mason likely to pack it in

Michigan State better hope that Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown and Drew Neitzel have their perimeter games working because George Mason will likely pack it in and take their chances with the Spartans on the perimeter.

DAYTON, OH - Michigan State better hope that Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown and Drew Neitzel have their perimeter games working because George Mason will likely pack it in and take their chances with the Spartans on the perimeter.

Tom Izzo knows that his club will be facing a dangerous defensive team that only allows a bite-size 58.8 points a game.

Such a tough defense poses major problems for the Spartans, who shoot a lot of three-pointers and outside shots. MSU is 0-4 this season when shooting less than 40 percent from the field, including a sluggish 28.3 percent in their Big Ten semifinal loss to Iowa last week.

These losses came at the hands of some of the best in the Big Ten: Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Also in that mix is Hawaii, who knocked off the Spartans in the very first game of the season.

The point is, shooters like Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown cannot afford to experience cold streaks or force shots up, as coach Izzo explained.

"This one and done is what its all about and you don't get to make too many mistakes or you go home."

"We have been a confusing team this year. We finished leading the league in field goal percent, second in the three-point percentage, first in free-throw percentage and yet our struggles were offensively this last week. What we haven't become is a very consistent team," added Izzo.

A key to the Spartans shooting is whether Paul Davis can do damage inside against the Patriots force Jai Lewis. If he can do that, it opens up the outside a bit, forcing defenders to focus on Davis. Adding another dangerous element to the Spartans is Davis' ability to shoot from inside the arc.

Ager and Brown have had great success all year shooting the three, but if sophomore guard Drew Neitzel gets some open shots, he holds yet a fourth outside threat to the Spartan offense.

Add big power forwards Matt Trannon and Goran Suton, and Michigan State has another team that could do damage in the Washington D.C. Bracket and make it to a second consecutive Final Four.

Should the Spartans advance pats the Patriots, they will play the winner of #3-seed North Carolina and #14-seed Murray State. The stage is set for a potential rematch of last year's national semifinal between the Spartans and Tar Heels.

Although North Carolina lost its top seven scorers from last season, the Spartans return players from that defeat to the Heels and would like nothing more than to return the favor and bounce them from the NCAA Tournament.

Tom Izzo's team has to take care of their own business first and not overlook George Mason.

After making a run to the Final Four last year, the Spartans have all the weapons to head to Indianapolis this season for another Final Four. The question remains however, which Michigan State team will show up.


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