Tourney preview: No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Miami

Tourney preview: No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Miami

The No. 9 seed Michigan State Spartans will take the floor for their 20th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance Friday evening against No. 8 seed Miami (FL) at 9:20 p.m. ET. You can watch the game live here. 

Here are some quick facts about the upcoming game:

Working in Michigan State’s favor

  • One of the most unselfish teams in the country. Nearly 66% of their buckets come off of an assist, which is the 2nd-highest percentage in the country.
  • They defend very well. They are 34th nationally in efficiency, 27th in effective field goal percentage and allow teams to make fewer than 44% of their 2-point attempts, which is 14th nationally.
  • Miles Bridges: Has scored at least 14 points in each of his last 13 games and is averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds and 38% 3-pt shooting in that stretch. He has nine 20-point games this season.
  • Tom Izzo is 46-18 in the NCAA Tournament and has never lost 3 straight games (lost 2 straight).
  • Miami turns it over a lot. They give it away on nearly 20% of their possessions, which ranks 243rd nationally.
  • Miami is not a deep team at all. They are 321st in bench minutes while Michigan State is 1st.
  • The Hurricanes don’t force a lot of turnovers, coming in 192nd in that category. They also don’t steal the ball much, ranking 267th in that category.

Working against Michigan State

  • They turn it over and don’t force turnovers. They give it away on nearly 21% of their possessions, which ranks 310th nationally and they are 313th nationally in forcing turnovers.
  • They don’t shoot free throws well. They make just 66% of their attempts, which ranks 288th nationally.
  • There isn’t a lot of tournament experience on this team. Alvin Ellis and Tum Tum Nairn are the only active players who have played more than one NCAA Tournament game.
  • Izzo has lost to Jim Larranaga in the last 2 meetings. He was upset in 2006 by his George Mason team in the NCAA Tournament and he lost to him in the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Coral Gables.
  • Miami is really good defensively. They are 20th in efficiency and 41st in effective field goal percentage. They don’t foul much either, ranking in the Top 40 in opponents free throw rate.
  • Miami slows the game down. They have fewer than 63 possessions per game, which is the 14th-fewest in the nation. That means that MSU won’t be able to run much. The Spartans effective field goal percentage is 61% in transition compared to 51.6% in the half court.
  • Davon Reed is a 6-foot-6 senior guard with tourney experience. He averages 15 points a game and makes 40% of his threes this season, leading the team in both categories.

Kenpom prediction: Miami wins by 1 point

Thanks for reading!

Harold Shelton III, BTN Studio Researcher

Harold Shelton III is a BTN Studio Researcher who writes up weekly stats for BTN & Follow his work on Twitter @BTNStatsGuys.