Depth is the Key: Summers and Green Lead the Michigan State Spartan Bench

Scott EckersleyContributor IApril 3, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - MARCH 22:  Draymond Green #23 of the Michigan State Spartans grabs a rebound against the USC Trojans during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on March 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

By now most everyone knows about Michigan State's starting lineup.  Goran Suton will get his double-double.  Kalin Lucas will run the offense.  And Travis Walton is the defensive glue guy who makes the team what it is.  The key to this spartan team, however, is the play of their bench.

Against a good rebounding team like Uconn, depth down low is going to be very important.  This is where freshman Draymond Green will be huge.  Green came in over the summer overweight and most people thought he would be redshirted. 

Well he worked harder than anybody this summer to get in shape and it is paying off with him playing valuable minutes in the Tournament.

MSU fans did not know what to expect with Green, and doubted that he would play this season.  Doubt is nothing new to this freshman. 

"I wouldn't be here right now without the doubters doubting me.  I just like to prove the people wrong who don't believe in me," Green replied when asked about what it feels like to play in this role after most people thought he would be redshirted.

Green provides the toughness and tenacity down low that the Spartans need.  He may only be 6'6", but he plays much bigger.  His six points and 10 rebounds were huge against Louisville especially with starters Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe combining for just two points and two rebounds.

The other key to taking down Uconn is having the ability to spread the court on offense.  Durrell Summers has been doing just that this tournament shooting 7/10 from 3-point range in the last three games of the tournament.  He has been playing with confidence in his whole game and it really shows. 

When I asked him what confidence did to his game he smiled and said, "man, when my confidence is going it feels like I can almost do anything.  I just feel like every shot is going in."

While seniors Travis Walton and Goran Suton seemed to will this team to the Final Four at times, the underclassmen filled pivotal roles throughout the season, and this run in the tournament.  Chris Allen, a sophomore guard, will battle Summers and Green to be the first sub in the game for Tom Izzo. 

Although his numbers do not show it, he has been playing with much more purpose in these last few games.  He has been playing harder defensively, and been much more into the offense.  If Summers struggles to find his stroke, look for Allen to step in and light it up.

If all else fails for the Spartans, Magic Johnson will be there and I am pretty sure that he stills has a couple years of eligibility left.