Matchup: New Mexico St. v Michigan State

The Aggies may have double-digit losses, but they are a dangerous team due to the fact that two players, who had been out much of the season, forward Wendell McKines and guard Troy Gillenwater have returned and not coincidentally, the Aggie have surged, their conference title loss to Utah State notwithstanding.

Michigan State, the 5th seed drew #12 New Mexico (22-11) in the first round of the in the Midwest region in Spokane, WA on Thursday, 7pm EST.

While the Aggies have double-digit losses, they are a dangerous team due to the fact that two players, who had been out much of the season, forward Wendell McKines and guard Troy Gillenwater have returned and not coincidentally, the Aggie have surged, their conference title loss to Utah State notwithstanding.

GSN takes a look at the matchups to see where Michigan State could have an advantage they can exploit against Coach Marvin Menzies squad and what deficiencies MSU will have to cover up to avoid an early exit.

POINT GUARD: Kalin Lucas vs Hernst Laroche Lucas, (14.9 ppg) the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2009, is coming off a subpar overall season where he found himself benched for one game for a lack of leadership will have a chance to get out and run and score against the pass first low scoring leader of the Aggies. Laroche started all 32 games as a freshman. He does not turn the ball over(122 assists vs 58 TOs) and keeps his club in every game. Lucas must cut down on the turnovers(121 assists vs 77 TOs).
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN STATE

SHOOTING GUARD: Chris Allen vs Jonathan Gibson Look for Izzo to turn back to Chris Allen to try to put the clamps on high scoring Jonathan Gibson (17.5ppg average). If MSU doesn't keep Gibson in check, it could be a long evening as the second team all-WAC selection has range and speed out on the break.
ADVANTAGE: NEW MEXICO STATE

SMALL FORWARD: Durrell Summers vs Jahmar Young Young is peaking at the right time, scoring 19 to no avail in the WAC final and is being touted as a possible NBA player. The Baltimore native is average 17.9 ppg and was a first-team all-WAC player. Meanwhile Durrell Summers is in yet another funk and nothing seems to be able to get him to wake up. Summers though has slashing and three point shooting skills but unless he revives after a one-game benching in the conference tourney, MSU will have to look elsewhere. Young has a propensity for foul trouble (83PFs) and turning the ball (91TOs) over when he gets out of control.
ADVANTAGE: NEW MEXICO STATE

POWER FORWARD: Raymar Morgan vs. Wendell McKines This will be a battle-royale as the muscular 6-foot-5 Morgan could have his hands full against the rugged Oakland, CA native McKines. McKines 10.8 ppg after returning from academic troubles and his 9.9 rebounds a game make him the Aggies best interior threat. But don't sleep on Morgan who realizes this is the best time to stamp himself as an NBA player. He must play up to his scoring (11.5) and rebounding averages (6.2) to offset the revitalized McKines.
ADVANTAGE: EVEN

CENTER: Derrick Nix vs Hamidu Rahman One thing that is similar about Nix and MSU sixth man Draymond Green is neither has a fear of any player. Nix at 6-foot-8 and 260 will take it right to the 6-foot-11, 255 Rahman who had better be ready to play. One the other hand, Rahman (94 PF) tends to get in foul trouble and so has Nix. That means either Green, freshman Garrick Sherman or 6-foot-8 Delvon Roe could be called to help out. The best thing would be if Nix can hold Rahman to a draw.
ADVANTAGE: NEW MEXICO STATE

BENCH: Draymond Green (10.1 ppg, 7.9 rebounds) is better than several starters on the MSU team. His intelligence, court sense, presence and passing ability make him a coach on the floor. MSU needs Korie Lucious (5.0) and Delvon Roe (5.2 boards pg) to make major contributions.

Even Austin Thornton will likely be called on to help. Troy Gillenwater will give the Aggies the same impact as Green. At 6-foot-8, he averages 14.4 ppg and 6.4 boards. Still, MSU pounds the glass to the tune of 39 boards per game to 35.5 for New Mexico.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN STATE

COACHING: No coach in America is better at getting a team ready for an NCAA run that MSU's Tom Izzo. A taskmaster, strict disciplinarian, but a deeply loyal coach, he has one National Championship, five Final Fours, six conference championships and 12 straight NCAA appearances. Marvin Mezies is in his second year at the helm of NMSU both winning seasons and this is his first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN STATE

TAKE: Michigan State will have to find a way defensively to reign in and keep Gibson and Young from lighting Spokane Memorial. They'll likely rotate fresh defenders on both.

While NMSU's starting five has an advantage over MSU, the Spartans bench of Nix, Roe and Lucious is better and deeper than NMSU's. Watch for MSU to come out with a renewed emphasis for defending against the running Aggies. Both teams, MSU (449) NMSU (426) turn the ball over too much

Michigan State 67, New Mexico State 62


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