Sunday, March 21, 2010
Previewing Sunday in Spokane
By Ted Miller
SPOKANE, Wash. -- A look at Sunday's second-round games in Spokane.
No. 5 Texas A&M (24-9) vs. No. 4 Purdue (28-5)
Storyline: Both teams shot well and played tough defense in their first-round game. Neither got -- nor needed -- a big performance from their leading scorer. Might Texas A&M's Donald Sloan and Purdue's E'Twaun Moore make their presences felt in round two?
What to watch Boilermakers: Moore scored 12 points in the 72-64 win over Siena. He averages 16.4 points per game. JaJuan Johnson played the lead in the first round, scoring 23 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. A problem: Siena outrebounded Purdue 45-38. Texas A&M is a good rebounding team, so the Boilermakers need to step up on the glass. Purdue has won 22 straight when scoring more than 70 points. The Aggies hold foes to 64.5 ppg.
What to watch Aggies: Sloan, who leads the Aggies with 18 points per game, scored just 10 in Texas A&M's 69-53 win over Utah State, which ranked fourth on the team. Freshman Khris Middleton has become a key scoring option on the perimeter. He led the Aggies with 19 points and made 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Over the last four games, he's averaged 16.3 points and made 11-of-19 from 3-point range.
They said it: "When [Texas A&M is] shooting the ball well, they're a very, very tough team to beat because of what they do defensively," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "They have size, they have athleticism, they have guys who can break you down. It's going to be important for us with their size and our lack of size that we stay out of foul trouble."
No. 5 Michigan State (25-8) vs. No. 4 Maryland (24-8)
Storyline: This looks like a classic matchup of a high-powered offense vs. a rugged defense. In the past eight games, Michigan State has held foes to 39 percent shooting and 60.2 ppg. Maryland averages 79 ppg and shoots 47 percent from the field. It also will be interesting to see if Spartans guards Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen, who are nursing ankle and foot injuries, can play and play effectively.
What to watch Terrapins: Freshman Jordan Williams posted twin career-highs with 21 points and 17 rebounds in the 89-77 win over Houston, while Landon Milbourne chipped in 19 points and seven rebounds. Those contributions allowed ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez to take a secondary role. The Terps dominated the boards against Houston with a 50-29 advantage but they are not typically a great rebounding team. Vasquez needs five points to eclipse Len Bias and move into second place behind Juan Dixon on Maryland's career scoring list.
What to watch Spartans: Lucas scored a career-high 25 points in the 70-67 win over New Mexico State. The Spartans have outrebounded foes in 25 of 33 games (three ties). Over the past six games, Raymar Morgan is averaging 16.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, both team highs. Spartans coach Tom Izzo is 14-3 in second-round games and all three losses came to No. 1 seeds.
The said it: "I think we're pretty much past that point where [Coach Izzo is] frustrated," said Michigan State forward Draymond Green when asked why the Spartans have so frustrated Izzo this season. "It's one and done time. We have pretty much wiped our slate clean of everything that went on in the regular season. We're all working together as a team now."