Seth Davis: Michigan State digs in, but turnovers could be Achilles' heel - Sports Illustrated

Spartans dig in to drop Jayhawks

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We caught up with Seth Davis to discuss Friday's action. So the Spartans were down by 13 -- how'd they come back?

They dug into the defense. They're a great defensive team that knows their identity. What was really important in this win was they made free throws: they went 16-for-17 from the foul line, which saved them in the end. Raymar Morgan was a total no-show, and the Spartans' overall shooting was not good -- they really, really could not make shots. Goran Suton was their best outside shooter, so that's not a good time for anyone.

The good news and the bad news from Kansas is they have two great players but no one stepped up for them most of the year. Whenever I talked to Bill Self, I asked who would be the third leg in the stool -- and they never found one. I would ask, 'Who is your X-factor?' and he'd say Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich because they had to be great for the Jayhawks to win.

One thing to watch on Michigan State is that they had 10 turnovers in first half -- that's going to be its Achilles' heel -- they'll have a really hard time beating Louisville, which forces you to commit turnovers and makes you really pay for them -- that's going to be a tough game for them. What should we look for in the Elite Eight games tomorrow?

Villanova-Pitt. It definitely feels like Villanova's going to win -- Pitt's been scratching, clawing and surviving but 'Nova looks like it's surging. Jay Wright said his team keeps getting better, which is scary for their competition. I think back to the first three games for Pitt, who had trouble of taking care of the ball against teams with fast guard. Back when they met in the regular season, 'Nova beat Pitt by 10, so there's familiarity there ... I honestly haven't decided who I'm going to pick, but I think you gotta give a long hard look at Villanova. Were you surprised how handily North Carolina beat Gonzaga?

Not really, they're just a really good shooting team. We talked about their fast break and secondary and how good they are in transition -- and they are -- but they're really a good shooting team. They were 58 percent from three. Another positive for them was early, and brief, but they got a nice lift from Tyler Zeller -- that might be something to keep an eye on. If they can get that for up to eight minutes from him, that could be a nice little late-season addition.

Let me say this: Blake Griffin was unquestionably player of the year, but as clear as that was, it's clear that Ty Lawson was the runner-up. He's a clear number two, and Tyler Hansbrough might be number three. Oklahoma was devastating: everything that could go wrong for Syracuse did, and Jonny Flynn getting hurt took any chance away. When Oklahoma meets North Carolina it will be a great, fun game that's national-championship caliber. What are your thoughts on Anthony Grant going to Alabama?

Great hire. Anthony Grant is very classy. He's sneaky intense, has an easy demeanor, a total gentleman, an intense competitor and he's familiar with the league and the area. He's going to represent the university in the first-class way and they're going to play really exciting basketball -- he hasn't forgotten the Billy Donovan full court pressure. No one was surprised, and I'm still hearing that Georgia likes Jeff Capel and Mike Anderson ... Would they go?

I do not see Jeff Capel going to Georgia, I see him going to Virginia under the right circumstances. But the two names floated for Virginia are Sean Miller and Tubby Smith.