Michigan State's Easiest Road to Winning the 2013 NCAA Basketball Title
Michigan State is no stranger to the Sweet 16 and beyond.
Counting this year, the Spartans have reached this round of the NCAA tournament 17 times in school history, and Tom Izzo has led MSU this far in 11 of his 18 years in East Lansing.
If you are a Spartan fan, you would love to see Michigan State go all the way.
To get there, why not think about what would be the least challenging path to cutting down the nets in the ATL?
Here is Michigan State’s easiest road to winning the 2013 NCAA basketball title.
Sweet 16: Duke Blue Devils
The Spartans don't go any further in the tournament unless they first take care of Duke. No small task.
It's good news for Michigan State that their leading scorer and junior point guard Keith Appling will be ready to go against the Blue Devils.
MSU has played Duke three times previously in the NCAA tournament, with the dudes from Durham winning twice. To even that score, the Spartans should slow the pace of the game down and turn it into a half-court battle.
It's not that the Blue Devils can't set it up and run their offense. But they are much better at getting out, filling the lanes, and looking to score in transition.
The other key to this game is to see how dominant the Spartans can be on the boards.
Elite 8: Oregon Ducks
If we are looking for the Spartans' easiest road, we're going to have to assume that March Madness goes a little crazy. There will have to be more upsets that knock out some of the other top teams in the tournament.
With as easy road in mind, Michigan State would be facing Oregon in the Elite Eight.
If the Ducks defeat the overall No. 1 seed Louisville, they will be flying high. However, they will still be a much easier team to face than Louisville. Playing Oregon would be more likely to end with the Spartans to become the Midwest region champs.
Oregon has committed 543 turnovers (15.1 per game) this year, ninth most in the country.
If they play the Fighting Ducks, the Spartans need to crank up the defensive pressure and disrupt their offensive flow.
National Semifinals: LaSalle Explorers
On to the Final Four!
If we are creating Michigan State's path of least resistance, they would play La Salle out of the West region in the national semifinals
The Explorers are one of the weakest rebounding teams in college basketball. They don't do well on the glass on either end of the court. The Spartans could really take over the paint and would be able to shut La Salle down.
Even though the Explorers love to shoot the three, being forced into operating almost exclusively beyond the arc would be a recipe for a La Salle loss.
National Championship: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Wouldn't it be amazing if Florida Gulf Coast stayed on their magical run all the way to the NCAA championship game? How over-the-top insane would the Georgia Dome be if the Eagles were playing the Spartans for all the marbles?
If this miracle of miracles were to take place, the Spartans would need to stick to what they do well: defense, rebounding and half-court execution.
Because Tom Izzo is one of the best possession-to-possession coaches in the college game, he would get the Spartans in super-grind mode, ready to impose their will all the way to the third national title in school history.
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