Friday, March 29, 2013
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Michigan St vs. Duke
Few teams have experienced more success in Indianapolis during NCAA Tournament play than Duke and Michigan State. Two of college basketball's premier programs look to continue their incredible run in that city Friday when the second-seeded Blue Devils face third-seeded Michigan State in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Duke has won six of seven NCAA Tournament games in Indianapolis - including a pair of national championships in 1991 and 2010 - while Michigan State is 7-1 in such games, including its last national championship run in 2000.
The Blue Devils advanced to their 13th Sweet 16 in the last 16 years with Sunday's 66-50 victory over Creighton, while Michigan State cruised to a 70-48 win over Memphis on Saturday for its 11th berth in the regional semifinals over the same span. The winner of this contest will meet top-seeded Louisville or No. 12 seed Oregon in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
TV: 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (27-8): Keith Appling practiced Monday and "is going to be fine," according to coach Tom Izzo, after injuring his left patellar tendon during the Spartans' victory over Valparaiso and aggravating a shoulder injury against Memphis. Adreian Payne recorded his first double-double in the NCAA Tournament with 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Tigers. He also added a career-high five blocks, a single-game record by a Michigan State player in a NCAA Tournament game. Gary Harris' 23 points Saturday were the most by a Spartans freshman in the Big Dance since Shawn Respert scored 27 against Cincinnati in 1992.
ABOUT DUKE (29-5): Assistant Chris Collins will reportedly accept the coaching vacancy at Northwestern at the end of the season. On the court, Duke turned in its second-worst shooting performance of the season (38.8 percent) against the Bluejays, but held the country's second-best shooting team to season lows in points and shooting percentage (30.2). Although freshman Amile Jefferson's two-point, two-rebound performance in 11 minutes wasn't particularly noteworthy, his defensive effort against All-American forward Doug McDermott - who finished 4-of-16 - played a key role the Blue Devils' win. Mason Plumlee, Josh Hairston and Ryan Kelly all battled foul trouble. Duke secured its 2,000th victory Sunday, becoming the fourth team to accomplish the feat.
1. Duke is 7-1 against Michigan State under coach Mike Krzyzewski, the loss coming in the Sweet 16 in 2005.
2. The Spartans boast a plus-23 rebounding margin through two games in the NCAA Tournament (98-52)
3. The Blue Devils are one win from hitting 30 victories for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the 13th time under Krzyzewski.
PREDICTION: Michigan State 72, Duke 68