Auburn Hills — Michigan State point guard Keith Appling has faced his share of quick point guards this season.
From Miami's Shane Larkin to Michigan's Trey Burke to Ohio State's Aaron Craft, they have all been the guy Appling has been charged with stopping and it hasn't always gone smoothly for the junior.
But when Michigan State faces Memphis today in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, Appling will be facing Joe Jackson, a player as quick, or quicker, than the ones he has played and one Appling is familiar with.
He and Jackson played together in the summer of 2011 on the USA Basketball Junior National Team and are fully aware of each other's game.
"I've known Joe Jackson a long time and he's obviously a pretty good player," Appling said. "Joe is pretty fast, he has a very quick first step, so if I do end up playing him, I have to be solid and stay in front of him. At the same time, he played with me, so he knows my game as well."
After Memphis' victory over Saint Mary's on Thursday, Jackson was complimentary of Appling, as well.
"I kind of know what he can do good and what he can do bad," he said. "It's going to be a good game and he's going to play hard."
By Friday afternoon, Jackson wasn't worried much about his potential matchup.
"I played against him before and none of the guys on the court are NBA All-Stars," he said. "He laces his shoes up just like me, so just go out there and play ball."
It's a matchup Michigan State coach Tom Izzo knows will be critical to the outcome.
"They are a lot alike," Izzo said. "Both have speed and Jackson maybe shoots a little better off the dribble. I like Appling's toughness, so it should be a heck of a matchup. I don't know if anybody has an edge over anybody else in that matchup."
Forgetting last matchup
The last time Michigan State played Memphis in the NCAA Tournament is a day Izzo does his best to forget.
"We burned that tape," Izzo said of the 92-74 loss in the 2008 regional semifinals when No. 5 seed Michigan State lost to No. 1 Memphis and Derrick Rose.
"If I carried a hankie in my jacket, I would have definitely waved the thing," Izzo said. "You know, it was almost worthy of the clock to keep running. We were down 50-20, and I think it was worse than that."
Memphis is more athletic and presents plenty of matchup issues for Michigan State, which will have to adjust quickly.
"It reminds me of going from Eastern Michigan to Princeton, only in reverse," Izzo said, referencing to the scenario during his first NCAA Tournament in 1998. "I definitely don't have anybody on my scout team that jumps (as high as some of the Memphis players).
"We put a ladder out there and let the guys jump off that to try and simulate what their guys can do. But with this team, prep is going to be more individual."
Michigan State and Memphis have one common opponent this season — Minnesota.
Michigan State split with Minnesota while Memphis lost to Minnesota at the Battle 4 Atlantis in November, when Andre Hollins scored 41 for the Gophers.
Derrick Nix said Memphis is a lot like Minnesota.
"An athletic team with athletic bigs," he said. "And good guards that can fill it up."
… Michigan State is 17-3 in the second game of an NCAA Tournament weekend under Izzo. The losses have come to top seeds.
… Michigan State has appeared in the Sweet 16 10 times in the last 15 seasons, and four of the last five. Only Duke has more appearances (12) the last 15 years.
… Michigan State is 0-2 against Memphis.