Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Mike Krzyzewski vs. Tom Izzo. Does it get any better than that? Two of the most elite programs in the country led by two of the most respected coaches nationally. This should be a fun one.
The Blue Devils and Spartans will tip it off at approximately 9:45 p.m. EDT Friday night in Indianapolis.
Duke's engine is propelled by senior forward Mason Plumlee and senior guard Seth Curry. With a clear advantage in the front-court going to the Spartans, Duke's guard play will determine how this game plays out. Curry is certainly capable of creating his own shot, an invaluable tool to have when the offense runs stagnant.
The return of Ryan Kelly has been a big boost to the Blue Devils. His outside shooting threat prevents defenses from doubling down on Plumlee, allowing the forward to go to work against a single defender, usually a mismatch, but perhaps not on Friday.
Freshman point guard Quinn Cook needs to control the tempo of this game and not force turnovers, something he has been able to do consistently all season.
Michigan State loves to utilize their big boys down low in Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix. If Mason Plumlee is big, Derrick Nix is huge. Nix will be quite the load for Plumlee to handle and will be a great matchup to keep an eye on.
Payne and Nix are vacuums on the glass, swallowing up rebounds. They are capable of grabbing offensive rebounds and finishing strong or finding open shooters.
If the forwards for Michigan State are struggling to score, their main two guards, Keith Appling and Gary Harris, are capable of scoring in bunches. Appling and Harris provide a one-two punch in the Spartan backcourt that, coupled with Nix and Payne down low, provides a dangerous combination.
Look for Michigan State to feed their big men constantly and if it isn't broken, they won't see a need to fix it.
Question of the game: Can Seth Curry and Co.'s three point shooting overcome the clear-cut physical advantage down low that Michigan State has in Nix and Payne?