Duke Basketball: What Blue Devils Must Do to Beat Michigan State in Sweet 16

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 25, 2013

Mar 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski (left) reacts during the second half in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament against the Albany Great Danes at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't get much better than Duke versus Michigan State in the Sweet 16.

Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo have a combined 19 Elite Eight career appearances between them and they will be coaching against each other on Friday for another trip to the Elite Eight.

Duke (29-5) pulled away from Creighton down the stretch in the round of 32, while Michigan State (27-8) blew out Memphis.

This should be a fantastic game, pitting two teams against each other that are relatively on the same level.

All stats via ESPN.com and TeamRankings.com.

Rebound the Basketball

Michigan State has the potential to make life miserable for Duke on the glass. The Spartans rank 47th in offensive rebounding rate. Their marks in that category over their last three games would rank them second in the nation over the course of the 2012-2013 campaign.

Conversely, Duke ranks 198th in defensive rebounding rate this season. 

Now, the Blue Devils have been better in that area recently so it's going to be interesting how they stack up against the Spartans. On the other hand, Michigan State just demolished a physical team in Memphis on the glass, 41-25.


Find Shooting Touch

Duke ranks 15th in field-goal percentage this season behind a great combination of inside-outside scoring. Beyond Seth Curry, Quinn Cook, Ryan Kelly and Rasheed Sulaimon (all shooting above 40 percent from downtown), the Blue Devils also have a low post scoring option in star Mason Plumlee, who is shooting 60 percent from the floor.

On the other hand, not only has Duke's field-goal percentage dropped in its last three games, so has its three-point percentage (26.8 percent).

Duke went on a second-half surge against Creighton in the round of 32. Perhaps that's the precursor to a turnaround. It better be, given Michigan State held an athletic Memphis team to 30 percent shooting in the round of 32.


Defense, Defense, Defense

Duke ranks 96th in opponents' field-goal percentage this season, but look what happened when bench players such as Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston stepped up defensively when Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly were in foul trouble against Creighton.

Creighton star Doug McDermott—a potential first-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft—went 4-of-16 in that game.

Duke needs that same kind of effort and defensive discipline against Michigan State, which ranks 42nd in the nation in field-goal percentage and shot 50 percent in the 70-48 victory over Memphis.


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