Michigan State: 5 Reasons Why the Spartans are Final Four Bound
Reasons Michigan State is Headed to Final Four
Michigan State is no stranger to the Sweet 16, making it to the 'third' round five times in the past six seasons and making it past the round of 16 twice in that time period.
Tom Izzo is a mastermind come March and he knows how to get his team ready for a deep tournament run, no matter what bumps in the road had occurred that season. The Spartans have made six Final Fours in the past 13 seasons under Izzo and every player who has stayed for four years has made at least one. That's an impressive statistic that keeps top talent coming to East Lansing year after year.
This season is no different as the Spartans were vying for a No. 1 seed until their late-season three-game losing streak that ultimately put them out of contention. However, they managed a No. 3 seed and were put into arguable the toughest region in the tournament: the Midwest Region.
Their second round matchup with Valparaiso looked as if it would be a blowout, but a late run left the final score closer than it should have been. They were then matched up with Memphis in the round of 32 and ran the athletic Tigers' team out of the gym.
They looked solid in their first two games but more work needs to be done if they want to advance to the Elite Eight after a win over Duke this weekend. The road only gets tougher, though, as they would most likely be facing Louisville if they beat the Blue Devils to make it to the coveted Final Four.
The road to the Final Four is never easy, but the Spartans know what it takes to get there and they have the tools to do so.
Here are my five reasons why Michigan State will win the Midwest Region and advance to yet another Final Four.
Spartan Freshman Act Like Veterans
Michigan State has some of the most talented freshmen in the nation, including freshman sensation Gary Harris. He is the team's second-leading scorer and his defense may be the most impressive aspect of his game. Well, three-point shooting may be his strongest skill as the athletic wing man shoots 41 percent from long range. With veteran-acting freshmen, any team could go far.
Tom Izzo Knows What it Takes to Get There
If you ask anyone who has earned the nickname 'Mr. March', more times than not, you will hear the name Tom Izzo. Michigan State has made the Final Four six times under his reign and also 16 straight tournament appearances. If anyone is going to get them to the Final Four, it's Izzo. His players have bought into his system and that will be evident again after this year's deep run.
When Keith Appling is Healthy, They're Hard to Stop
Keith Appling has been banged up a bit lately, including his knee and shoulder, but when he is healthy, Michigan State is a well-oiled machine. It takes a lot to get Appling out of the lineup but it's when he's at 100 percent that the Spartans are at their best. He is the team's leading scorer and the Spartans need him to play well in order to 'survive and advance'.
Adreian Payne is Impossible to Guard
Let's put it this way: Adreian Payne is good. Real good. In fact, he's so good that he's next to impossible to guard. For a big guy to match up well with him, they need to be quick and able to defend all the way out to the perimeter. The big man can shoot from long range as well as drive to the basket and throw down a nasty dunk. He has really made a name for himself and could be on his way to the NBA sooner than later.
They are Tougher Than Anyone
Being in the Big Ten, the Spartans were forced to be tough. In fact, they earned the reputation of being one of the toughest, most physical teams in the nation. They will pound the ball down low and then rip down the offensive rebound if need be. Michigan State is physical and it's hard for any team to deal with that for 40 minutes.