Five Keys To Beating Michigan State

I'm currently smack in the middle of my "thinking everything is a sign" portion of game day.

Wer'e out of triscuits? Not a good sign for holding Green to less than 16.

Really don't remember leaving my toothbrush there. No way we turn Appling over more than three times now.

Basically, I'm writing this strictly so I don't end up penning a bizarre 1,000-word post the relationship between Wayne Blackshear and Phil and Lil during the third season of Rugrats in an hour.

1. Keep Draymond Green From Going Ballistic

Whether it's points, rebounds, assists or some combination of the three, the All-American is going to get his. The key is not letting him get so many of each that analysts are spending the rest of the night debating: "is this actually the best player in America?"

You don't have to shut down stars in order to win games like this, but you do have to keep them from giving defining performances.

2. Take Advantages Of Their Turnovers

The Spartans turn the ball over less than 13 times a night, and point guard Keith Appling has only given it away six times in five postseason games. That being the case, it'd be foolish to expect U of L's press to cause Appling to miraculously unravel or the Spartans to throw the ball away 20-25 times.

Because of this, Louisville has to make sure that they're getting points off of the opportunities they are handed. With a game that's expected to be played in the 60s, 8-10 points is obviously a number that could be the difference between winning and losing. When the Cards get a steal and have a chance to score in transition they can't afford to make ill-advised passes or blow bunnies at the rim. Those handful of cheap points could definitely be their best shot at pulling this upset.

3. Limit Second Chance Points

Louisville has not been good on the defensive glass all year, while Michigan State, per usual, is one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country. Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne are two very different big men (Nix is big and physical, Payne is far more athletic), but both can kill you on the boards and are fully capable of making shots from two feet.

The Cards can play the best perimeter defense the sport has ever seen and it will matter little if MSU is getting easy basket after easy basket on put-backs. This is one of the areas that could lose the game for U of L even if they do almost everything else right, and that would be difficult to stomach.

4. Have One Guy Get Hot From The Outside

The Cards can't expect to score all their points off of turnovers or long rebound-induced fast breaks, which means they're going to have to hit some shots from the outside. Whether it's Kyle, Chris, Russ or even Wayne, U of L has got to have at least one guy who goes off from outside and shoots well above his season-average. It's hard to envision them scoring enough points to win otherwise.

5. Keep Peyton And Gorgui Out Of Foul Trouble

There's no point in getting deep into this yet again, but its significance demands inclusion on any list like this. Peyton and Gorgui are Louisville's biggest assets in this game, and if either play less than 30 minutes then I'm not sure U of L's season can survive the night.

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