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Friday, April 27 University of Connecticut

Keys for UConn vs. Michigan State

Keys for UConn vs. Michigan State

1. MAJOR PAYNE: The Huskies can't let the 6-foot-10, 240-pound Adreian Payne take over the game the way Louisville's Montrezl Harrell did in three meetings. Not only is Payne an inside force with 23 ppg and 5.7 rpg in three tournament games, but he's versatile enough to work from the perimeter (7-for-13 on 3-pointers) and could be a good matchup on DeAndre Daniels.

2. THREE'S THE WAY: The Spartans can be dangerous from 3-point range (.407) just like the Huskies (.460). UConn doesn't need to live on the perimeter, but it needs to make it a viable offensive weapon while containing MSU like it did against Iowa State. Teams have done a good job of locking down on Niels Giffey (3-for-8) on the perimeter in the tournament, but Ryan Boatright is hitting .500 (6-for-12).

3. PROTECT THE RIM: The Spartans have a physical advantage in the paint, but the Husky big men -- Amida Brimah, Phil Nolan and even Tyler Olander -- need to stand their ground there. Brimah in particular needs to avoid foul trouble and the Huskies need to not allow second-chance opportunities. MSU ate them up there last year with 20 offensive boards leading to a 15-1 second-chance points edge.

4. ON THE LINE: When you are hitting 85.7 percent at the foul line, something is going right. UConn needs to make sure it gets to the line, though, so it can take advantage of it. The Huskies are 60-for-70 at the line, while MSU is hitting at .831 (54-for-65).

-- William S. Paxton