Next up for the 3rd seed Michigan State Spartans? College basketball’s most hated and simultaneously most popular team – the Duke Blue Devils. Friday night at 9:45 eastern these two old school rivals will renew their rivalry. It will be a tough choice between watching Michigan State and Duke or Florida vs Florida Gulf Coast University aka Dunk City.
Considering Izzo is 1-6 against Coach Kryzyzewski in his career, I’m not sure many would consider this among NCAA Basketball All-Time Top Rivalries, but Coach Izzo is 1-1 against Coach K in the tournament. In 2005 Michigan State upset number 1 seed Duke as a 5 seed, but lost in the Final Four to Duke in 1999 who lost in the title game to the Jim Calhoun coached Huskies of Connecticut.
Michigan State is a 3 1/2 point underdog for Friday’s NCAA tournament game on CBS, so here are a few things Michigan State needs to do to pull off the upset. First, defend the perimeter – Duke is the fifth best 3 point shooting team in the nation. Duke needs to take a page out of Creighton’s defensive playbook from Sunday and play suffocating defense on Seth Curry. If Seth Curry shoots 2-9 from 3 again Michigan State has a great chance to win the game. If Curry gets hot and has a 5 3-point game like he did 6 times this year, Michigan State will be hard pressed to win the game.
Secondly Michigan State needs to take care of the ball. Duke is an excellent team in transition and if they’re allowed to run the floor Michigan State will get ran out of the building.
A friend said to me the other day “We don’t want Duke to be bad. We want Duke to be good and lose, so in a way, we all root for Duke” I think this was the perfect way to state how people feel about Duke. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed rooting for a team as much as I enjoyed rooting for Lehigh and C.J. McCollum.