Max Christie Key to ruin Michigan State coach K. Swan Song

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All season long, you’ve heard that familiar refrain: Michigan State doesn’t have a true alpha dog. They don’t have a main man, or a closer, but some nights different guys step in. Freshman Max Christie, an American prospect and 5-star McDonald’s star, was in some games. Other nights it’s Gabe Brown or Marcus Bingham Jr. Last night it was Joey Hauser, a guy who didn’t live up to expectations but really brought it in the end win evening on good old friend Foster Loyer and Davidson.

Seventh-seeded Michigan State defeated tenth-seeded Davidson 74-73 in a very exciting and closely contested March Madness contest. Hauser led the way for the Spartans, with 27 points on 9-12 shooting, 4-6 on three. AJ Hoggard added 14, shooting 6-9. Max Christie was basically invisible against the Wildcats, going 1-6 from the floor and scoring just two points.

He must be much better against Duke, the No. 2 seed and tournament favorite. If you bet, as you would at gclub, then you’ll see Duke favored -6.5 for this 5:15 a.m. EST, Sunday, March 20, tip on CBS. MSU could make this coach Mike Krzyzewski the last game in their history, but they’ll need Christie to live up to his potential to do so. TV presenters will take care of Coach K. to glorify and celebrate him whenever they can. One of his former players, Grant Hill, is calling the game. It’s on gang green to spoil the love party. Christie has had his ups and downs this year, and while he’s a top NBA prospect, his stats indicate he’s not quite ready to jump this year.

“One thing about Max, it’s been a bit of a tough year for him, but he’s drawing the best,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said at the Big Ten tournament.

“When we played Illinois, Frazier was all over him. You play Purdue, their best defender is on him. We play Wisconsin, Brad Davis is on him. And if you look at how they played it, they denied it, they didn’t let him get the ball.

“I thought about Max’s future, he proves he can defend, he can rebound, he can take free throws, he does a lot of things. Everyone knows he can score the ball and nobody more than me, although maybe it hasn’t been quite that kind of – especially the last three weeks.

“But Max is always going to go offensively. What’s amazing is that in year one, his stamina, he’s able to do what he’s able to do because he’s racing that route. I even play him to the point of trying to hit him and he also checks the best players every night.

Very true, Christie is a great defender and he will also be Duke’s best and brightest tomorrow. It’s a major test for him, but it will help him grow as a player.

Max Christie discussed what the state needs to do to bring about big upheaval.

“I think it built a bit of toughness and greatness to make sure we have to realize that we have to close these games and really lock ourselves in at the end of the game,” he said.

Last night was all about surviving and moving forward, period. To do this here, against a much more formidable opponent, the Spartans will have to bring even more. Max Christie will have to be the best he can be.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic crossing: How the English Premier League redefined football in America,” as well as “No I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons From A Lifetime In The Sports Media Industry.”

He appears regularly in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Grandstand, and co-hosts the Podcast After the extension. follow him to Twitter and instagram.



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