Hello TOC, well that was a great way to start off March Madness. MSU will hopefully continue their good play against Harvard on Saturday who just defeated Cincinnati to meet MSU in the round of 32. As usual the adjusted stats will be next and the analysis will follow soon after.
The Harvard Crimson were 27-4 overall this season, and had a 13-1 record in the Ivy league with their lone conference loss coming against Yale, btw in an aside the Ivy does not have a conference tourney and they just send the team with the best conference record to the big dance. This Harvard team is very strong defensively, and plays an efficient style of basketball. Almost everyone at MSU is familiar with the Crimson head coach, Tommy Amaker, who used to lose repeatedly to Izzo when Amaker coached at Michigan. They run a nine man rotation using 4 guards and 5 forwards. They do have length but lack elite size considering their tallest starter is 6-7, but they also only have one starter shorter than 6-5. This team does not attempt very many threes, and only three players are good at them, Chambers, Rivard, and Curry. The rest are non-threats to shoot from outside.
Starting with the Backcourt, Chambers, Sophomore, is the leader in minutes and is more of a combo guard than a true point guard. As mentioned earlier he is one of the three with the ability to shoot from deep, 39%. He also averages almost 4 assists a game, and according to his numbers almost never commits a foul. He is not a good rebounder however, and is considered the least efficient shooter on the team. Next is Rivard, Senior, and he is only in the game for one reason, the three. He is a shooting specialist as you can see from his crazy efficiency numbers, and the fact he shoots 43% from deep. Everything else is just ok. The final guard is Saunders, Junior, and he is essentially Denzel Valentine. Where he isn’t the most efficient shooter, but averages 3.5 assists from the small forward position. One thing Denzel does way better though is hitting the boards with DV averaging almost 2 more per game.
The Frontcourt is led by Mondou-Missi, Junior, who is a pretty efficient shooter. His best quality though is his rebounding, where he is above-average for his height. All his other numbers seem normal for his position. The final starter is Casey, Junior, and he is actually the leading scorer when the stats are adjusted. He is also a good rebounder, but can be done in by foul trouble.
The first man off the bench is usually Curry, Senior guard, who is another combo guard type. He is an efficient shooter, around 36% from 3, and deals out 3.4 assists per 30. He is also a good rebounder for his size and his other numbers are average. Next is Travis, Junior Forward, who is the best offensive rebounder on the team, as well as another efficient shooter. His other numbers are also mediocre. After that is Cummins, Sophomore Forward, who is another good rebounder and efficient scorer. He also leads the team in block percentage, but also gets into foul trouble easily. Finally we have Okolie, Sophomore Forward, who is another efficient shooter, but unlike the other forwards is not a good rebounder for his size. His other stats are average.
All in all this should be a physical game, against a team with quite a bit of talent. I think this game will be once again be won on the interior, and I hope Payne has some more points left in the tank for this weekend since he has another game with a height advantage inside. Also Harvard’s D should hopefully prepare MSU for Virginia if both teams make it to the sweet sixteen. This should be a good game to watch, and hopefully there will be less referee intrusion into this one. Go Green!!