It's game day for the Aggies. The Aggies and Spartans will tip off at 5:20 p.m. MT in the Spokane Arena. For the Aggies it represents a chance to gain some more national recognition. It's one of the popular 12-seed vs. 5-seed games that fans have grown to love because of the recent success of the 5-seed. This 12/5 matchup seems to be the only one not being considered an upset prospect. The Aggies are 14-point underdogs and nearly every media outlet predicting the game thinks that Michigan State will win.
If you take away the seeds and just look at the matchups, it's a pretty good matchup for the Aggies. The guard play between the two teams will be the key matchup today. The Michigan State media is still buzzing, as are the players, about Jahmar Young's comments regarding Michigan State guard Kalin Lucas. Young told the media in Tuesday's press conference in Las Cruces that he had not heard of Lucas and did not know who he was. Lucas took the comments personally and when asked about those comments yesterday in the press conference he said, "I saw it. I think he disrespectful for saying that." He added, "But at the same time I'm just going to go out there and play basketball and we're going to play team basketball again."
Some people might think it was an unwise move for Jahmar to make such comments and that it would only serve to awake a sleeping giant. We had the same initial thought, however, as we thought some more about it last night and this morning we have come to the realization that it could actually work in the Aggies' favor. If Kailin Lucas is still, as of yesterday, concerned with Jahmar's comments, then his focus is not fully on today's basketball game. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo also made comments to that effect saying, "If he needs that to be motivated, I say we're in trouble."
The biggest keys for the Aggies will be hustle. The Aggies need to win every 50/50 ball, grab loose balls, big rebounds and shoot well from the field in order to win this game. The Aggies showed amazing hustle in the WAC tournament. They need to carry that over into tonight's game. The Aggie went through a pretty spirited practice yesterday in the open practice and worked a lot on transition and rebounding which again, are big keys for tonight's game.
Tonight's game could see the winner reach 80+ points as the Aggies average 78.6 points per game and Michigan State averages 72.6 points per game. The Spartans are holding opponents to 63.7 points per game while the Aggies are giving up 77.8 points per game. Both teams can shoot the ball well as the Aggies average 46.9 percent from the floor and Michigan state averages 47.3 percent. The Aggies hold the edge in three point shooting hitting 37.1 percent of their shots while Michigan State is hitting 33.3 percent. Both teams have good three point defense as the Aggies are giving up 35.6 percent and Michigan State is holding their opponents to 32.5 percent. The Aggies are only turning the ball over 12.9 times per game while Michigan State turns the ball over 14 times per game.
Tonight's game can be seen on CBS and if you happen to be in a market where they are not showing the game then you can stream it online for free at http://www.ncaa.com/MMOD.
On to today's links...
Kevin Grasha of the Lansing State Journal talks about MSU's impressions of the Aggies.
Diana M. Alba of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks about New Mexicans' impressions of Michigan State.
David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Free Press talks about Wendell McKines' willingness to speak what's on his mind.
The Sports Network previews today's game.
Ted Miller of ESPN.com previews today's tournament games.
Jeff Kanan of The State News talks to an NMSU student who bleeds MSU green.
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News writes that the Aggies hope to execute in today's game.
Shannon Shelton of The Detroit Free Press shares that the the Aggies had more "interesting" comments.
Green and White provides a game capsule.
Shannon Shelton of The Detroit Free Press writes about MSU head coach Tom Izzo's dinner with former coach and mentor Jud Heathcote.
Joe Rexrode of the Lansing State Journal's blog talks about Jahmar Young's comments about Kalin Lucas.
Shannon Shelton of The Detroit Free Press previews today's matchups on the court.
Eric Prisbell of the Washington Post comments on Jahmar's Kalin Lucas comments.
The LSU athletic website previews this weekend's spring tournament in Houston where they'll face the Aggies among other teams.
Aggie Women's Basketball
Jeff Metcalfe of The Arizona Republic talks about the Aggies' loss to ASU in the WNIT.