Michigan State Basketball Affirms Beliefs of Many Against Delaware

By V. Corey Greenleaf
Nothing But Payne
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden would be on the same page. However, that page exists in politics, not basketball. The Head of the State selected the trendy pick to win the NCAA tournament, Michigan State, while the VP selected Delaware, where he graduated from as a double major in history and political science.

Score one for the President.

Led by a dominant performance from center Adreian Payne, the Spartans affirmed the beliefs of many, scoring a 93-78 win over the Fightin’ Blue Hens in their second round East Regional game in Spokane, WA.

Neither the result nor the deficit were a surprise, as MSU (27-8) appears primed to play their best basketball of the season. The Spartans begin the season 18-1 and 7-0 in the Big 10, and looked every bit the part of their preseason ranking of No. 2 in the country. Key injuries saw them go 6-7 the rest of the regular season, mainly due to injuries suffered by three starters (Payne, Brenden Dawson and Keith Appling).

They returned to championship form, defeating rival and regular season Big 10 champion Michigan in the conference tournament final, and have regained their health at just the right time. Payne seems to the be the player who benefited the most from his earlier season “rest,” as he poured in 41 points and continued his excellent marksmanship at the free throw line in the tourney, where he is a perfect 29-for-29 for his career. Today, he was 17-for-17, and MSU was 23-for-25 as a team, good for 92 percent. Travis Trice scored 19 points, while Branden Dawson and Gary Harris chipped in with 10 points each.

Delaware (25-10) played a more than reasonable first half, trailing 44-33 at the half, but the Spartans were never in trouble. Champions of the Colonial Athletic Association in both the regular season and tournament, the Fightin’ Blue Hens were looking to notch their first ever win in the NCAA tourney, as they entered 0-4 all-time. This was their first appearance since 1999, when they lost to Tennessee, 62-52.

Devon Saddler scored 21 points and Davon Usher, who shot just 37 percent from the floor, added 20 point for Delaware. Jarvis Threatt added 14 points.

The win advances MSU to the third round, where they’ll face the No. 12 seed Harvard, who topped No. 5 Cincinnati, 61-57.

V. Corey Greenleaf is a college basketball writer for RantSports.com. Contact him on Facebook.

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