The Michigan State Spartans have always been known as a team for playing well once March rolls around and on Saturday–they proved once again why as they cruised by the Memphis Tigers to advance to the Sweet 16 once again for the fifth time in six years. One of the main reasons why the Spartans had little trouble in their 70-48 win over the Tigers was due to Adreian Payne–who bounced back after a disappointing performance against Valparaiso on Thursday.
After finishing with just seven points to go along with six turnovers on Thursday, Payne bounced back on Saturday against Memphis by contributing 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds as Michigan State awaits the winner of the Duke–Creighton game on Sunday. Payne has been a key factor in the Spartans’ success all season–so it was good to see the center bounce back in the Round of 32.
As mentioned before, this seems to be Michigan State’s favorite time of the year as they always seem to take their game to a different level once the tournament rolls around. This squad certainly seems capable of making a strong run over the next couple of weeks and how far they go could rely on the shoulders of Payne.
Hopefully, Payne can play as well in the Sweet 16 as he did against Memphis on Saturday–or the Spartans could be sent home earlier than they would like to if they struggle in the Sweet 16 against Duke or Creighton.
“Like” Dan Parzych on Facebook
Be sure to follow Dan on Twitter @DanParzych