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2011 NCAA Tournament, UCLA Vs. Michigan St.: Reeves Nelson Vs. Draymond Green Will Be A Key Battle

The first full day of the 2011 NCAA Tournament will end tonight with a pair of prime time games. In Tampa, the No. 7 UCLA Bruins will battle the No. 10 Michigan St. Spartans in one of the better on-paper matchups of the first round. A key matchup will be at power forward, where Reeves Nelson will battle Draymond Green. Green leads the Spartans in both rebounds and assists this season. Bruins Nation analyzed the battle at the four position:

Reeves and Green have a lot in common but there are differences.  Reeves is the better finisher and unlike Green mostly takes good shoots but obviously not as good outside or as a point forward (although occasionally he tries to be.)  That may be the key in this matchup.  Does Nelson play within himself as a 4 and bring it on defense?  In the mirror opposite does Green take bad shots or disappear on offense?  This matchup may be the most even.   However, Reeves has been awesome in a number of big games and tonight would obviously be the best time to bring it.

In addition, the SB Nation Michigan St. blog also sees Green as a key to the game, especially on offense for the Spartans:

The keys for MSU will be to attack the basket decisively but not predictably and to crash the offensive glass relentlessly.  Kalin Lucas may need to look to pass a little more than he has been when he drives, and Draymond Green will likely  look to pull his man outside and then go to the hoop, as well, since he'll face a height mismatch against the UCLA forwards in the post.  In addition to playing good defense on Smith, Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix (who lead the team in offensive rebounding percentage) will need to play with energy around the basket and give the team a few second-chance buckets.

Tonight's 6:20 p.m. PST tip-off can be seen on TBS.

For more UCLA Bruins hoops news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Bruins Nation. For more information on Michigan St., be sure to read The Only Colors. For the full NCAA tournament bracket, click here.