The Michigan State Spartans flew by the Delaware Blue Hens, their first NCAA opponent. The Spartans took control early and never looked back, winning 93-78. It is the first win, of the six wins needed to be crowned national champions. Three quick thoughts from the second round match-up:
1. A Payne-ful game for Delaware fans. Adreian Payne burst onto the scene early in the NCAA Tournament. He dominated the game, showing he is one of the toughest players to guard in the country. He scored inside, outside, and on the foul line. He picked a great time to have the best game of his career, he scored a career high 41 points. Most impressive is that he did it on only 15 shots! He went 10-15 from the floor, and 4-5 from beyond the arc. Dominating this game wasn’t enough though, he had to etch his name in Tournament history by going a perfect 17-17 from the free throw line. Payne also grabbed 8 rebounds in the game.
2. Trice for three rolls of the tongue. Payne may have dominated the game, but seeing the second half Travis Trice played may be the more promising stretch for a MSU championship. Other players are going to need to step up throughout the tournament, and today, Trice was that player. Trice scored 19 points, and he, too, did it efficiently, going 7-8 from the field. He went 3-4 from beyond the arc. He stepped in and made plays, he was able to get out on the break and get easy baskets and he knocked down his three’s when they were available. Another major plus side of his performance, he allowed Gary Harris to sit much of the second half and rest for what hopefully becomes a long month of basketball.
3. Sometimes you are just outmatched. It’s tough to blame the Blue Hens for losing this game, sometimes the other team is just a better team. It was obvious just by looking at the teams line up for the opening tip that MSU had a definite advantage in size and physique. MSU’s athletic advantage allowed them to dominate the glass, winning the rebound column 42-24. This MSU team is way too talented and offensively gifted of a team to beat when you lose the rebounding column by 18. That’s just too many extra possessions to overcome.