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Home > 2012 NCAA Tournament > NCAA Tournament Predictions: West Region: 1. Michigan State vs. 16. Long Island University-Brooklyn

NCAA Tournament Predictions: West Region: 1. Michigan State vs. 16. Long Island University-Brooklyn

By: Kels Dayton

 1 Michigan State (27-7, 13-5)-The Big Ten champion Spartans cruised down the stretch, winning 10 of 12 and capturing the league title by defeating Ohio State, 68-64 in Indianapolis. Michigan State is tough, strong, and experienced, with 6-7 senior forward Draymond Green leading the way.

Draymond Green (Getty Images)

Like Mateen Cleaves and some guy named Earvin Johnson, who both won national championships at Michigan State, Green is a unique personality. He’s gregarious and outgoing, but on the court he’s a fiery competitor and the heart-and-soul leader of this Spartans team.

Green averages 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He’s helped by sophomore guard Keith Appling, who averages 11.3 points and 3.1 assists per contest.

Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood has been a nice addition for Michigan State, averaging 8.6 points per game and providing some big buckets in key games for the Spartans.

Michigan State holds teams to just 37.8 shooting from the field, which is 2nd-best in the country.

KEY STATS:

26th Rebounds per game (38.2)

24th Field Goal Percentage (.476)

2nd Field Goal Percentage Defense (37.8)

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 16 Long Island University-Brooklyn (25-8, 16-2)- When you think of a 16-seed, you think of a team of scrappy, tough, character guys who can barely get rim. Guys who have dreamed their entire lives to be playing on this stage–only aren’t quite ready for the big time. They pass the ball well, may be able to shoot, but are just physically incapable of competing on the same floor as the No. 1 seed.

NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd (LIU Athletics)

This is not that team.

Watching LIU take pregame warmups is like watching an NBA slam dunk contest–no joke.

This team has a bunch of big, physical, strong athletes who can throw down windmills, chase you all over the court and knock down threes. The Blackbirds are quicker than a hiccup, and this game….you heard it here first…will be a challenge for Michigan State.

For starters, LIU boasts a potential NBA prospect in the 6-7, 215-pound physical specimen that is Jamal Olasewere (16.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg). And he’s not even the Blackbirds’ best player.

That would be Julian Boyd, a 6-7, 230-pound junior forward from San Antonio, TX, who averages 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Both guys could switch jerseys and easily pass as Michigan State forwards.

LIU plays at breakneck speed, and scores the ball with great efficiency.

KEY STATS:

3rd Points per game (81.9)

20th Rebounds per game (38.6)

26th Field Goal Percentage (.475)

PREDICTION: Michigan State  in a close one.

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Categories: 2012 NCAA Tournament
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