DENVER, CO - As Michigan State (25-8 #5 seed) prepares to square off against the Temple Owls (21-12 #9 seed) in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Denver, Co. The Spartans don't want any Christmas celebration.
Temple silky smooth shooting star Dionte Christmas would love nothing more than to jump start the Owls offense today against the Spartans but Michigan State has a plan to stop that.
MSU hopes that 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Raymar Morgan, who needs to jump start his own game, will rise to the challenge defensively against Temple's leading scorer (20.2 ppg).
The key matchup will be in the backcourt where Christmas and point guard Mark Tyndale, who is averaging 4.3. assists per ball game will try to outduel MSU scoring leader Drew Neitzel (14.2 points per game) and the pointguard tandem of freshman Kalin Lucas and junior Travis Walton.
Expect MSU to run Morgan, Walton and even freshmen Durrell Summers to all get shots at Christmas.
Look for MSU to set a myriad of screens to get the long-range shooting Neitzel off. But its on the boards were MSU really has the advantage.
The Spartans rank eighth in the nation in rebounding with 37.2 per game led by Goran Suton's 6.7 per game. Contrast that with the Owls who rank 208th in the NCAA in rebounds per game with no players among the top 100 in rebounding.
MSU's strategy to should be to work inside out, getting underrated Drew Naymick some shot attempts inside against Temple's big man Sergio Olmos. If Olmos gets into trouble with fouls, MSU should be able to have their way in the paint.
PICK: MSU 71 - Temple 62
Spartans Don't Celebrate Christmas
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