The Story of the Statistics

A closer look at the trends of primary statistical markers heading into the Spartans' Sweet Sixteen match-up with Memphis Friday night.

Michigan State and Memphis will tip-off at approximately 10:00 p.m. (EDT) Friday night for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. Here's a closer look at the statistical trends of the Spartans and Tigers.

Filed Goal Percentage
MSU - .480 / UM - .466

When the Spartans shoot 50 percent or better from the field, they are tough to beat. This season, their record when accomplishing the feat is 12-1; compare that to a 15-7 mark when shooting under .500. In addition, the Spartans are 24-4 when shooting better than their opponent.

3-point Percentage
MSU - .374 / UM - .353

This is somewhat of a wash statistically in terms of the tournament, as both teams are shooting well. The Green and White have been better on defense, however: The Spartans are 10-25 (.400) in two games, while holding opponents to 8-40 (.200); the Tigers have converted 15-36 (.416) while holding the opposition to 12-32 (.375).

Rebounding Margin
MSU - +7.3 / UM - +6.6

Perhaps the most crucial statistic for the Spartans, rebounding has always been essential to Tom Izzo's teams. This season, the Green and White are 25-4 when they out-rebound the opposition. But when the boards are turned? MSU lost three of four when the other team got to the glass more often.

Scoring Margin
MSU - +9.4 / UM - +18.7

The Tigers, compared to the "Showtime" Lakers of the 1980's by Izzo, average nearly 80 points per game. But the Spartans can run-and-gun, too. When MSU holds opponents between 70-79 points in a game, their record is 6-0.

Assist-Turnover Ratio
MSU - 1.28 / UM - 1.35

The Tigers hold a slight edge here, but when Michigan State causes more turnovers than their opponent, the Spartans are 13-1. If the big men keep their mistakes to a minimum, the Green and White have a great shot to move on.

Of course, the game will be decided on the effort and execution on-court, but the statistical trends seem to favor the Spartans. While the Tigers appear to have a more explosive offense, Michigan State has proven they can match a team which scores prodigiously. All-in-all, it would appear that defense and rebounding, staples of the Izzo regime, will be deciding factors — and if that's the case, those who bleed green and white should be excited.

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