Memphis-Michigan St. Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 22, 2013
When Keith Appling plays well, Michigan State usually wins. The same is true for Joe Jackson and Memphis. On Saturday, one of the junior point guards and his team will advance to the round of 16 when the third-seeded Spartans (26-8) face the sixth-seeded Tigers (31-4). ''Whenever you got two good quarterbacks, it's pivotal,'' Spartans coach Tom Izzo said Friday. ''Ours is playing better and theirs has been playing well and they're both kind of alike. They're both jitterbug guards, both the same size. They can really push the ball, use ball screens. ... Him and Joe ought to be worth the price of admission.'' The leading scorers for both teams are coming off good games. Appling had 15 points, making three 3-pointers, as Michigan State opened the NCAA tournament with a 65-54 win over Valparaiso. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Detroit native made a season-high four 3-pointers and scored 16 points in his previous game, extending his streak of success that followed a three-game slump that coincided with a season-high, three-game Spartans' losing streak. Appling scored six, three and nine points in consecutive setbacks against Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan - making only one shot against both the Hoosiers and Buckeyes - before bouncing back with a 19-point performance in a win over Wisconsin in his first of five games with at least 13 points. After starting ahead of Appling on USA Basketball's under-19 team two years ago, Jackson doesn't seem worried about how he'll fare. ''I played against him before and none of the guys on the court are NBA All-Stars,'' Jackson said. ''He laces his shoes up just like me.'' The 6-1, 171-pound Jackson scored 14, connecting on a pair of shots beyond the arc, and had seven assists and six rebounds to help Memphis hold off Saint Mary's for a two-point win to set up the intriguing matchup with Appling. Jackson scored 22 points in his previous game, leading his hometown Tigers to a win over Southern Miss and their third consecutive Conference USA tournament title. He was held scoreless in the conference semifinals, a rare poor performance since being benched in the Bahamas during a nonconference tournament in which Memphis coach Josh Pastner delivered a message. ''I believe that the best motivating factor is the bench,'' Pastner said. ''I believe in production, and if someone's not getting the job done, the best way to do it to make a point is instead of screaming and yelling at them is to sit them. ''Joe didn't play well in the Bahamas his first two games, so I sat him. That third game when we played Northern Iowa, he was terrific. And from that point to where we are now, he's been absolutely awesome.'' Jackson said he learned a valuable lesson after getting over his disappointment about playing just 7 minutes and 20 minutes in losses to Minnesota and VCU back in November. ''Work hard, just bounce back and get your confidence back up,'' he said. The Spartans ooze with confidence during the NCAA tournament in large part because Izzo is one of the best coaches in the country during this time of year. He has 38 NCAA tournament victories and is 17-3 in the second game at an NCAA tournament site. Pastner says Izzo, who he once tried to work for as an assistant, should already be in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Yet the Tigers don't sound as if they'll be satisfied with a brief appearance in college basketball's showcase. ''We're a great basketball team,'' Memphis' high-flying forward D.J. Stephens said. ''We didn't expect just to win that one game and then pack it up and go home. We definitely want to try to win a national championship and we want to win as many games as we possibly can. We're happy we won it, but we're not done with yet.'' --- Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

SEC begins crying foul over Jim Harbaugh’s spring break plans at Michigan

Marc Gasol reportedly out indefinitely with broken foot

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker