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NCAA Basketball ACC BasketballBig 10 BasketballDuke Blue DevilsMarch MadnessMichigan State Spartans

2013 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview: No. 2 Duke vs. No. 3 Michigan State

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, all of the underdogs in the NCAA Tournament make for great fun, but so does games between two traditional powers in the Sweet 16. That is exactly what is going to happen when the Duke Blue Devils face the Michigan State Spartans in a battle of great coaches and some really good players. So for those of you who constantly complain about the quality of play in college basketball — I call your bull and raise you this game.

What to Watch For

Ryan Kelly, all of the time. Duke has a slew of quality shooters that will be lining up behind the arc and even have some pretty good inside players, but Kelly is going to be the key all tournament long. Kelly has really struggled so far this tournament on offense and has not been overly aggressive on the glass. While that won’t really matter against a 16-seed, Duke won’t be able to get away with that kind of performance against Michigan State.

The Spartans are going to need Derrick Nix to become some form of a man-beast underneath. Nix will have to do his usual routine of cleaning the glass, but also serve as a deterrent for the rare times the Blue Devils decide to attack the hoop. As with what has already been stated about Kelly, Nix needs to limit Duke’s second chance opportunities and let Kelly know if he is going to attack the basket, a price is going to be paid.

Prediction

Where is a coin?

Duke 75 — Michigan State 74

For more in-depth, team specific team breakdowns head over to the Duke Profile and the Michigan State Profile.

Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone