3 Key to the Michigan State-Minnesota Game

Colin Koot

After surviving the Bradley Braves in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Michigan State Spartans will now face the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Spartans routed Minnesota in February, but this Golden Gopher team has evolved throughout the past month.

Here are the three keys for Michigan State to beat Minnesota.

1)  Contain Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy

In MSU’s win over Minnesota on February 9, Coffey and Murphy combined for just nine points.  On the year, they averaged to combine for just over 31 points per game.

If the Spartans are able to hold Coffey and Murphy under 30 points, they’ll be just fine.

2)  Keep Minnesota off of the free throw line

The Golden Gophers rank 16th in the NCAA for free throw attempts per game at 23 per game.  Because of their lack of three point shooting, Minnesota needs to attack the basket and get the other team in foul trouble.

Richard Pitino’s team scores almost 25% of their points at the charity stripe, so the Spartans need to keep Minnesota off of it.

3)  Pound the ball inside

In their last matchup, Nick Ward had 22 points and nine rebounds.  Other than  Jordan Murphy, Minnesota does not have much size under the basket.

If Tillman and Ward can get Murphy in foul trouble, that changes the entire game for the Golden Gophers.

Prediction

74-70 Michigan State