Spotlight on guards

AUBURN HILLS (AP) – When Keith Appling plays well, Michigan State usually wins.

The same is true for Joe Jackson and Memphis.

Today, one of the junior point guards and his team will advance to the round of 16 when the third-seeded Spartans (26-8) face the sixth-seeded Tigers (31-4). (1:45 p.m., CBS)

“Whenever you got two good quarterbacks, it’s pivotal,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said Friday. “Ours is playing better and theirs has been playing well and they’re both kind of alike. They’re both jitterbug guards, both the same size. They can really push the ball, use ball screens. … Him and Joe ought to be worth the price of admission.”

After starting ahead of Appling on USA Basketball’s under-19 team two years ago, Jackson doesn’t seem worried about how he’ll fare.

“I played against him before and none of the guys on the court are NBA All-Stars,” Jackson said. “He laces his shoes up just like me.”