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March 14, 2010

The basics

Friday's game does indeed start at 7:20 p.m. Eastern, three cheers for the ink-stained wretches. Chris Allen will play, and Tom Izzo and Durrell Summers did meet Sunday.

    Also:
    * The Spartans will essentially be playing to avenge Illinois on Friday. At least, that's how you could look at it considering New Mexico State is a "bid bandit" that stole an at-large slot away. I have to think Illinois was the last team left out, or awfully close to it.
    * The Aggies are fast, athletic and high-scoring, with six guys shooting above 33 percent from long range. And you may as well ignore everything this team did in the first half of the season. Athletic forwards Troy Gillenwater (6-8, 234, 14.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Wendell McKines (6-6, 224, 10.8 ppg, 9.9 rpg) joined the team in February and December, respectively, after they gained academic eligibility. This is a totally different team with those two, and a huge reason the Aggies won the WAC tourney.
    * The Aggies also give it up on defense (77 points, 45 percent shooting) and have poor rebounding numbers. But again, they didn't have the 16 rebounds a game Gillenwater and McKines give them.
    * No tickets available for this one, it's sold out and MSU's 350 will go to the luminaries and top donors. However, I'm thinking that sellout has a lot to do with Gonzaga fans expecting the Zags to be there (instead of, say, Buffalo!) so if you can find a way out to Spokane, I'll bet you can find good seats at a good price outside the arena.
    * For Lansing-area residents, MSU's team banquet is Monday night, at Breslin for the first time. Admission is free, concessions open, doors open at 7:30 with the program starting at 7:45. You can sit in the green seats.
    * Arizona was not included, meaning MSU now has the third-longest NCAA streak with 13. Kansas is at 21 and Duke at 15. MSU's streak is the second-longest in Big Ten history. Indiana went to 18 straight from 1986 to 2003.
    * Izzo repeated that he will "mix it up" this week and look at lineup variations. Draymond Green, though, will stay in that sixth man role. Izzo said Kalin Lucas is out to prove something, in a good way.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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