Detroit, Mich. - Ford Field
9:21 pm, CBS (Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)
"There's a lot of cities right now that have problems. But this is ours. This is our big city in the state. So that's why I think it's a little more meaningful for those of us that are from around here." – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo
"As far as our team, we just want to take one game at a time. We had goals and dreams that we did want to accomplish. You know, we just took one game at a time and now we're here and it feels good to be here." – MSU guard Kalin Lucas on bouncing back from the 98-63 loss to UNC on Dec. 3
"If we had everybody perfect, the way they played that night [in December], instead of winning by 35, they could have beat us by 20… If we play good and they play good, we're losing." – Izzo
"What you try to do is talk to your team in terms of principles and the philosophy they have. You can't get them to know 90 plays. We give our team a two-page scouting report. I have some good friends in coaching that give teams 15 or 20, but we give them a two-page scouting report, and then try to rely on our principles, our defensive principles being able to help us with those." – UNC head coach Roy Williams on preparing his players for Michigan State's multitude of offensive sets
Season to Date: Michigan State enters Monday's national championship game with a 31-6 (15-3 Big Ten) record. After early double-digit losses to Maryland and North Carolina, the Spartans rebounded to win 11 straight games and claim the Big Ten regular season championship. Tom Izzo's squad fell to Ohio State, 82-70, in the semifinals of its conference tournament on Mar. 14.
NCAA Tournament Results: Point guard Kalin Lucas (14.4 ppg in tournament play) and post presence Goran Suton (12.2 ppg in NCAAT) have guided Michigan State through the difficult Midwest Region and into the national championship game with convincing wins over two No. 1 seeds in Louisville (64-52) and Connecticut (82-73). In NCAAT play, the Spartans are controlling the boards (plus-5.8 rebounding margin) while taking care of the basketball (plus-0.4 turnover margin), and have survived despite connecting on just 43.4 percent of their field goal attempts.
Balanced Attack: Postseason awards are rampant throughout the Michigan State roster, highlighted by Lucas' 2009 Big Ten Player of the Year honors after averaging 16.5 points in league contests. Suton (10.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) was named Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Region, senior guard Travis Walton (5.2 ppg, 3.4 apg) earned distinction as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and freshman forward Delvon Roe (5.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg) ended up on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Difference Maker: Raymar Morgan has proven to be a spark to Michigan State's scoring and rebounding ability despite battling through walking pneumonia in January and February. The Spartans are 22-3 with the junior forward (10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) in the starting lineup and 21-2 when he plays 20 minutes or more. More importantly, Michigan State averages 76.1 points and own a +10.7 rebound margin when Morgan plays 20 minutes or more, but just 65.4 ppg and +7.4 on the boards when he plays less than 20 minutes or not at all.
Owning the Glass: Michigan State leads the nation in rebound margin with a plus-9.4 mark. The Spartans are 27-5 when out-rebounding their opponent, and have out-rebounded 25 of their last 27 opponents.
You May Not Have Known… That Michigan State is holding its opponents to 41.4 percent on the season, slightly trailing North Carolina's 41.1 field goal percentage defense mark. In the NCAA Tournament, the discrepancy is even larger, as the Spartans' are allowing a 41.5 shooting percentage, compared to the Tar Heels' 38.2 mark.
Key Stat: Michigan State is 28-0 when holding its opponents to fewer than 70 points, but 3-6 when allowing more than 70. North Carolina has scored less than 70 points in just one game this season, defeating Miami 69-65 in South Florida on Feb. 15.
Last Meeting: The top-ranked Tar Heels throttled No. 12 Michigan State, 98-63, on Dec. 3, 2008, at Ford Field in Detroit as part of the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tyler Hansbrough posted 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Ty Lawson tallied 17 points, eight assists, zero turnovers and a career-high seven steals. North Carolina shot 47.9 percent from the floor and held the Spartans to just 34.8 percent in front of a home crowd.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Michigan State, 8-3. This meeting marks the fifth time these two programs have squared off in the NCAA Tournament, and the third time in the last five years (joining UNC wins in the 2005 Final Four and the 2007 second round). UNC is 4-0 all-time against Michigan State in the Big Dance.
Projected Starters: 1 Kalin Lucas (6-0, 180, So.) – 14.7 ppg, 4.6 apg 5 Travis Walton (6-2, 190, Sr.) – 5.2 ppg, 3.4 apg 2 Raymar Morgan (6-8, 225, Jr.) – 10.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg 10 Delvon Roe (6-8, 225, Fr.) - 5.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg 14 Goran Suton (6-10, 245, Sr.) – 10.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg Key Reserves: 3 Chris Allen (6-3, 205, So.) – 8.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg 15 Durrell Summers (6-4, 195, So.) – 8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg 41 Marquise Gray (6-8, 235, Sr.) – 3.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg 23 Draymond Green (6-6, 235, Fr.) – 3.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg 34 Korie Lucious (5-11, 170, Fr.) – 3.1 ppg
Suton ... Lucas
Walton ... Morgan
Izzo ... Roe