NCAA tournament 2010: Injury update on Kalin Lucas, Chris Allen
Here are some news and notes items from today's media sessions with Maryland and Michigan State in advance of Sunday's NCAA tournament second round contest ...
1) Kalin Lucas almost certainly will play; Chris Allen's status is far more questionable. Two of Michigan State's starting guards suffered injuries during the Spartans' win over New Mexico State on Friday. Lucas, a first team all-Big Ten selection, re-injured his right ankle with 6:31 left in the second half. He originally injured the ankle on Feb. 2 at Wisconsin. Lucas practiced with the team Saturday and said of his ankle: "It feels great. It’s 100 percent." Expect Lucas, who leads the Spartans in scoring (15.2 ppg), to play his full share of minutes tomorrow.
As for Allen, his prognosis is less certain. Allen went down with 5:22 remaining Friday night. He sprained a tendon on the bottom of his right foot. On Saturday, Allen sported a walking boot and did not practice with the team. Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said he was encouraged that Allen put on a pair of sneakers and was able to walk around, but "it's a day-to-day, minute-to-minute thing. I just don’t have any idea where he’ll be."
Allen, Michigan State's top three-point shooting threat, is averaging 8.8 points per game. When asked whether he expected to play Sunday, Allen said, "Definitely I do. I mean, I’m probably not going to play 30 minutes, 20 minutes, but 10 minutes could help us dramatically."
2) Allen's uncertain status will affect how Michigan State defends Greivis Vasquez. Izzo said he'll alternate having Lucas (6 feet) and senior forward Raymar Morgan (6-8) guard Vasquez (6-6) on Sunday. But Izzo noted that's only because his first choice for a defender against Vasquez likely will be limited, if even available at all.
"I probably would have put Chris Allen on him a lot because he’s got a little bit more size and he’s been very good defensively," Izzo said. "If he doesn’t play, that’s definitely going to hamper us some. Maybe a lot."
Allen (6-3) said he felt as though the biggest issue his potential absence might cause his team would be on the defensive end, as well.
"That’s pretty much what I’ve been thinking about," Allen said. "Just me being on the court, being able to guard Vasquez, that would help major. I mean, I could have tired him out."
3) Maryland will wear its gold jerseys tomorrow. The Terrapins weren't allowed to on Friday, but they got clearance to wear their gold uniforms during tomorrow's game against Michigan State. The players were excited about this development.
4) Kansas lost. Yeah, you probably already know this by now. Hopefully, you were able to see the end of that game live. But Northern Iowa's triumph over Kansas, the tournament's top overall seed, adds to the stakes of Sunday's Maryland-Michigan State contest. The winner not only gets to advance to the Sweet 16, it gets to advance knowing it won't have to face the Jayhawks, who many observers agree possess(ed) the most talented roster in the field.
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