Projecting Adrien Payne's Final Stat Line and Blueprint for Success vs. Harvard

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 22, 2014

SPOKANE, WA - MARCH 20:  Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans looks on during their game against the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 20, 2014 in Spokane, Washington.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Adreian Payne’s 41-point explosion in the second round against the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens was impressive, but you can bet he won’t duplicate that against the Harvard Crimson on Saturday. 

Check out the highlights of the Michigan State Spartans' win over Delaware.

Predicting a decrease in Payne's individual stats doesn't mean he won’t play well, or that the Spartans won’t win. The Crimson play stout defense and 41 points from a single player against them is a tall order.

Harvard allows just 60.4 points per game, which is 13th in the nation. 

This is going to be a low-scoring game that is won on the glass and defensively. Considering the dynamics of this upcoming matchup, here’s what you can expect from Payne on Saturday.

(Check out the updated bracket here)

 

Payne in the Paint

Mar 20, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Adreian Payne (5) dribbles against Delaware Fightin Blue Hens forward Carl Baptiste (33) in the first half of a men's college basketball game during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tourname
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Harvard swarms on defense, but they lack size in the frontcourt.

The Crimson’s tallest regular rotation players are 6’7”. At 6’10” with long arms, Payne will have a clear advantage close to the basket. A huge key for him against Delaware was that he knocked down his free throws.

Delaware's head coach Monte Ross had high praise for Payne after the game, per Spartan Sports Page:

He was 17-for-17 to be exact. Over the last two games, Payne has converted all 22 of his attempts from the line.

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Against Harvard, he should get his opportunities on the line as well. If he’s anywhere near as efficient against the Crimson, he should be effective in the low and high post.

 

Payne on the Perimeter

Al Goldis/Associated Press

One of the most unique things about Payne’s game is his ability to knock down the three-point shot.

He made 4-of-5 attempts from downtown against Delaware and he’s shooting 44 percent from long range this season. He’s a matchup nightmare for most teams with his size and ability to pick and pop.

Harvard has the athletes and discipline to fight over screens and contest Payne’s three-point attempts, but if point guard Keith Appling is controlling the ball properly, he can still get Payne good looks. 

Even with that, it seems Payne’s smartest approach against Harvard is to hover near the free-throw line and the low block.

If he gets hot from deep, that approach could change, but I wouldn’t bet on another three-point explosion against Harvard.

 

Payne on the Glass

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 29:  Adreian Payne #5 of the Michigan State Spartans grabs a rebound against the Duke Blue Devils during the Midwest Region Semifinal round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 29, 2013 in Ind
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This is where Michigan State needs Payne to shine brightest.

With a huge size advantage, the Spartans should dominate the rebounding category and limit Harvard’s second-chance opportunities. Payne will be one of the players primarily responsible for doing that. 

Harvard has a few speed merchants, like Siyani Chambers on the perimeter. Payne’s teammates up top and on the wing must do their jobs to prevent the frontcourt players from picking up unnecessary fouls.

Appling, Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine usually do a good job containing penetration. Look for Payne to grab double-digit rebounds in this game, as it should be a major focus for him.

 

Total Stat Line Prediction for Payne

  • 22 points
  • 10 rebounds
  • 7-for-15 from the field
  • 1-for-2 from three-point range
  • 7-for-9 from free-throw line
  • 1 blocked shot

Payne is on a mission to end his college career on a high note. After the great performance against Delaware, Payne said this per Gillian Van Stratt of MLive.com:

"I wanted to leave a legacy. I talked to coach about that. The other day I sent him a text."

It's clear he's a man of his word. Payne will continue his path toward All-Tournament honors with another solid, all-around performance and the Spartans will advance to the Sweet 16.

 

Follow me. I'm addicted to hoops.

@BMaziqueFPBR