MSU's bigs could challenge Duke

Branden Dawson and Gary Harris of Michigan State face a major challenge with Duke on Friday. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Friday night's Duke-Michigan State game offers some of the best contrasts of any in the Sweet 16. The Spartans have the personnel to match up with the Blue Devils position by position. Let's take a look at each one.

Derrick Nix versus Mason Plumlee
While the obvious difference between the two is that Plumlee is better able to change ends at conversion and make Nix run, Plumlee is also used by Mike Krzyzewski on the elbow or off the low block where he can wheel into the lane or drive the ball past Nix. In close quarters, Nix can have success against Plumlee, as Plumlee can sometimes have trouble finishing over size near the rim. In space, Plumlee can be far more successful.

The question is whether either team will double the post. In doubling the post, you have to ask yourself, how do you feel about open shots? Because when you double the post, you will give up open shots to good teams. My sense is that neither Tom Izzo nor Krzyzewski will, because neither likes to give up open shots.