Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 3/17/12
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Magic of Rick Majerus prevailed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament yet again on Wednesday night when his Saint Louis Billikens imposed their will over Memphis en route to a 61-54 victory in Columbus, Ohio. Memphis was athletic, but Michigan State presents a whole different type of monster. "We've never played a team like them before," Billiken forward Brian Conklin noted. "Just like we never played a team like Memphis before. Coach has played teams like this. He's got a great scout for us." Much like Saint Louis, Michigan State is as sound defensively as any team in the country. The Spartans rank third in defensive efficiency and rank in the Top 25 in numerous categories, including two-point defense, three-point defense, and defensive rebounding percentage. But when you talk about Michigan State, you start with Draymond Green. The 6-foot-7, 230 pound senior forward leads his team in points (16.1), rebounds (10.4), steals (1.5), and blocks (1.5). When asked about how the Billikens plan to stop the Spartan big man, Saint Louis head coach Rick Majerus respectfully deferred. "Let's reflect on that after the game," Majerus said. "Not that we got any big secrets. But I would just as soon whatever it is we have, I'd rather not go into the game plan, if you would. "Green is a great collegiate player. He has a triple double last night. And looking at like, say, six films, Green has hit a trail transition 3 in every one. And in every single film, too, he's caught, swept and drive. He's unselfish. Sometimes to a fault. He can pull a 3. He has total freedom. And I would give him total freedom, too." Michigan State Key Player: Draymond Green - Green had 24 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and no turnovers in 35 minutes of action against LIU Brooklyn. He joined Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in history to have more than one triple-double in the NCAA tournament. Saint Louis Key Player: Brian Conklin Conklin will more than likely draw the assignment of guarding Green, which will be the most difficult assignment of his career. The senior forward will also need to play with more composure and limit the number of turnovers. Conklin can not let his emotions get the best of him. Prediction: Michigan State 58 Saint Louis 53 Michigan State is tournament tested and has a coach that can match the x's and o's of Rick Majerus. Expect a low scoring game that is anything but pretty. If the Billikens can get turnovers and hit three's, then they have a shot to pull out a victory.
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