Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Two teams with plenty of NCAA Tournament
success square off in this year's Sweet 16, as the second-seeded Duke Blue
Devils and third-seeded Michigan State Spartans meet on Friday in the Midwest
Regional semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium.
This marks the 37th NCAA Tournament appearance for Duke, which boasts of a
98-32 all-time record in the event, including an 81-24 mark under Mike
Krzyzewski, the most tournament wins by any coach in Division I history. With
tournament wins this year over Albany (73-61) and Creighton (66-50) in Midwest
regional action in Philadelphia last week, Duke is one win shy of the 13th 30-
win campaign in school history, all under Coach K. The win over the Bluejays
in the third round was also the 2,000th in program history, making Duke one of
just four schools to reach that win total, joining Kentucky, Kansas and North
Tom Izzo's Spartans are making their fifth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last
six seasons. Behind strong defense, MSU made light work of the competition in
the first two games of this event, topping both Valparaiso (65-54) and Memphis
(70-48) to improve to 56-25 all-time. Michigan State is making its 27th
appearance in the Big Dance and its 16th straight.
Both these teams have had plenty of success in Indianapolis, with MSU 7-1 in
tournament games in the city, while Duke is 6-1, including national titles in
both 1991 and 2010.
Duke is 7-2 all-time against Michigan State, including Coach K's NCAA record-
breaking 903rd win in Madison Square Garden in the last meeting.
The winner of this game will take on either Oregon or Louisville in the
Midwest Regional Final.
Michigan State completely dominated Memphis in the third round as it shot 50
percent from the floor and limited the Tigers to 29.7 percent efficiency in a
wire-to-wire victory. Gary Harris got to work early on in the tilt as he
tallied 16 of his career-high 23 points in the opening 20 minutes, while
Adreian Payne posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards. Payne also
swatted five shots. Michigan State has been getting it done at both ends of
the court this season, scoring nearly 70 ppg, while allowing fewer than 60.
The Spartans are led by standout performers Keith Appling (13.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg,
3.7 apg) and Harris (12.9 ppg, .413 3-point FG percentage), the latter of
which was tabbed as the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year. Payne (10.1 ppg, 7.5
rpg) rounds out the unit's double-digit scorers.
Duke will put the Spartan defense to the test with explosive and balanced
scoring. The team has a dynamic inside/out combination in guard Seth Curry
(17.3 ppg, .426 from 3-point range) and forward Mason Plumlee (17.2 ppg, 10.0
rpg). The scoring depth continues with perimeter threats Ryan Kelly (13.3 ppg.
.459 from 3-point range), Quinn Cook (12.0 ppg, .401 from 3-point range) and
Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7 ppg). Cook also serves as the team's primary
facilitator, dishing out 5.4 apg. Overall, Duke comes in averaging 77.8 ppg,
doing so on .477 shooting overall, including .403 from 3-point range. It was
Sulaimon who led the way against Creighton, as the freshman finished with a
team-high 21 points. Curry poured in 17 points, while Plumlee was held in
check, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.
The Sports Network