|Michigan State||K Appling 13.3||A Payne 7.5||K Appling 3.4|
|Duke||S Curry 17.3||M Plumlee 10.0||Q Cook 5.4|
No. 3-seeded Michigan State battles No. 2-seeded Duke in the sweet sixteen of the NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday. Tipoff occurs at 9:45 p.m. ET. The Spartans are 0-2 against the Blue Devils over the last four years. They lost 74-69 the last time they played (Nov. 15, 2011).
In their last outing, behind 23 points from Gary Harris, the Spartans blew out Memphis 70-48 on Mar. 23. While contributing 2.5 rebounds per game, he also scores 13.1 points per game. For the Blue Devils, Rasheed Sulaimon put up 21 points and five rebounds in the 66-50 win over Creighton on Mar. 24. He is averaging 11.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
In reviewing statistical differences between the teams, Duke appears to have an edge in one significant area, scoring, where the Blue Devils have the upper hand over the Spartans, 77.8 points per game to 68.2 points per game. From a tempo-free perspective, Duke is strong in the following categories: turnover percentage at 15.6 and effective field goal percentage at 54.4.
- Michigan State has a better scoring defense (59.4 allowed per game vs. 66.6 allowed per game) than Duke this season.
- Last year the Big Ten had a stronger schedule compared to the ACC (No. 1 vs. No. 5).
- Last year the Big Ten had a better conference RPI than the ACC (No. 1 vs. No. 6).
- The Big Ten has had four more Sweet Sixteen teams than the ACC over the past 5 years.
- The Michigan State steals leader (Branden Dawson, 50 steals) has more steals than the Duke steals leader (Quinn Cook, 47 steals).
- The Big Ten performed much better in non-conference close games than the ACC (70.8 percent vs. 45.5 percent).
- Michigan State has more Final Four appearances over the last 10 years than Duke (three vs. two).
- Michigan State is bigger. The average weight of the top 8 players on Michigan State is 214 lbs compared to 204 lbs for Duke.
- Michigan State allows fewer rebounds (30.6 allowed per game vs. 34.9 allowed per game) than Duke this season.