Projected Starting Lineups
(3) Oklahoma Sooners (24-10, 12-6 in Big 12)
G Jordan Woodard (So.) –9.1 ppg, 4.1 apg
G Buddy Hield (Jr.) – 17.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg
G Isaiah Cousins (Jr.) – 12.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg
F TaShawn Thomas (Sr.) – 11.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg
F Ryan Spangler (Jr.) – 10.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg
(7) Michigan State Spartans (25-11, 12-6 in Big Ten)
G Travis Trice (Sr.) – 15.1 ppg, 5.2 apg
G Denzel Valentine (Jr.) – 14.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg
G Lourawls Nairn Jr. (Fr.) – 2.2 ppg, 2.5 apg
F Branden Dawson (Sr.) – 11.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg
F Gavin Schilling (So.) – 5.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg
What to watch for:
Michigan State's transition offense
Michigan State is really good in a lot of areas, but they’re one of the worst teams in the NCAA in creating turnovers. They only get 5.4 steals per game, which ranks them 280th in the country. That doesn't allow them to get out in transition much, though they were successful at doing so in their win over Virginia. If the Spartans can get some easy offense by playing good defense and forcing turnovers, they'll have a great chance to win.
How will Buddy Hield play?
Hield has been one of the leading scorers in the Big 12 throughout his career, and he’s relied upon to carry Oklahoma’s offense every single night. He does most of his damage from the three-point line, shooting over 38 percent from deep and making almost three three-pointers per game. However, he's only shooting 34 percent from the floor so far in the NCAA Tournament, and Oklahoma needs him to play much more efficiently to pull this one out.
Prediction: Michigan State wins 73-71
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is a master in March, and he has his team playing as well as anyone in the country. Oklahoma’s streaky offense will allow the Spartans to go on several runs in this game, and they won’t be able to overcome the deficit at the end.Back to the Michigan State Spartans Newsfeed