No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Delaware

By Jeff Lippman - March 18, 2007


My favorite nickname vs. everybody's favorite home team (next to UConn).

Although the circle at halfcourt says "NCAA," both lanes and both baselines read, "Michigan State" and "Spartans."

Although I disagree with allowing teams to play on their own home court during the NCAA Tournament, I must admit, this place is packed with fans wanting to see their Spartans in the tourney.

The 5-seed are led by guard Victoria Lucas-Perry, a 5-foot-9 senior that averages 13.5 points and almost six rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Aisha Jefferson and senior guard Rene Haynes both average 10.3 ppg.

The woman in the middle for the Spartans will be the difference maker. One of the tallest women to ever play collegiate basketball, at 6-foot-9, freshman Allyssa DeHaan is averaging 12.6 points and 7.5 boards a game.

DeHaan isn't built like Duke's Alison Bales. She isn't wide bodied, she's just really tall. I'm probably not making much sense when I say that DeHaan is a very petite 6-foot-9, with every body part elongated.

Delaware finished the regular season 26-5 and lost to James Madison in the CAA Tournament.

The Blue Hens, I love that name, are led by senior guard Tyresa Smith. Named a player to watch in this tournament by yours truly, Smith is averaging 19.8 points and almost eight rebounds per game. She leads the CAA in ppg and is 18th nationally.

Junior point guard Kyle DeHaven is 16th in the nation in steals per game and the Hens will look to her for leadership, solid ball handling and the ability to make things happen with her defense.

Earlier in the season, Michigan State lost to Delaware CAA conference rival Hofstra 57-53. By contrast, Delaware swept the Pride this season.

If that means anything, it should be negated by the decided home-court advantage for the Spartans.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 06:56 PM on March 18, 2007
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