It is no secret that the Michigan State Spartans can make a run to the Final Four and even win the National Championship. Even though they had some what of an up and down season and a three seed is low for their preseason expectations, they are still one of the most talented teams in the country and it is hard to bet against Tom Izzo in the NCAA tournament.
However, they drew what many believe to be an under seeded Bucknell team and certainly not a team they can look past. Bucknell is 25-9 and won the Patriot League this season. They would have had a higher seed but they started the season 0-4 even though they played all of those games close. They played at North Carolina their third game of the season and only lost 93-81 and played a competitive game throughout.
They love to score the ball at a high level as they average 81.1 points per game, which is good for first in the Patriot League. They also have the highest scoring margin in the patriot league at 8.3.
When talking about match ups to watch, you have to mention the patriot leagues’s top scorer (20.3 points per game) and rebounder (9.2 rebounds per game) Zach Thomas. Thomas is one of the more dangerous scorers not only in this game, but in the whole Midwest region. Also for the Bison is Nana Foulland who is averaging 15.4 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. With these two forwards more than likely being the match up for Miles Bridges and Nick Ward, along with Jaren Jackson, this is sure to be very fun to watch.
When it comes to guard play, this is going to a fun point guard match up to watch as well. Cassius Winston for the Spartans and Stephen Brown for the Bison are two guards that do not make many mistakes and they like to get their talented teammates involved. Winston leads the Big Ten in assists at 6.8 and is top 10 in Assist-Turnover ratio at 2.7. Stephen Brown is third in the Patriot League in Assists at 4.3 assists a game and is also third in Assist-Turnover Ratio at 2.5. These guys will definitely make for a fun game to watch.
When picking one specific match up to watch, That would be Nana Foulland vs. Jaren Jackson. These are two very similar talents and are both fantastic rebounders, shot blockers and rim protectors for the respective teams. These two guys both have to play well and win the battle in the paint and mainly take some pressure off the two main scorers for each team who will battling it out all game in Miles Bridges and Zach Thomas.
Bucknell only has three players averaging over eight points per game while the Spartans have all five starters averaging over 11 points per game. This has to be a point of concern for the Bison as they need their role players and bench players to step up and help Thomas, Foulland and Brown score the ball. If they cannot, this game could be over quickly.