Michigan St Spartans
Head Coach: Tom Izzo
Location: East Lansing, MI
Line: Michigan St by 13
Typical Rotation Depth: 8+
KenPom rank: 11
Offensive Style: Superior passing, 3pt heavy, fast paced
Defensive Style: Sit back and make you take a bad shot
Recent Key Losses: Matej Kavas out for the season
Players to watch: Cassius Winston
The Senior PG is one of the best guards in Div 1 and returns to the PBA where last year he scored 29 on the way to personally ripping the heart out of the 2018-19 Nebraska basketball team. Winston leads the team in scoring and assists and his hitting at 42% from outside
Players to watch: Xavier Tillman
Tillman is a classic Sparty center as he's 'only' 6'8" but clocks in a 245#. Tillman's superior shot blocking and rebounding skills allows Michigan St to extend their defense to the 3pt line. The big man has played 30+ minutes in all of MSU's conference games in 2020.
By default Michigan St isn't overwhelming in size and girth like other teams in the conference. Skill is a whole different subject matter. You can probably attribute some of the inconsistency in this team to it's youth as the only rotation upperclassmen are Winston, Tillman, and Justin Ahrens
- Henry has struggled with his shot in conference play
- Watts is 2nd to Winston in terms of aggressiveness to score. Only has shot 6 FTs in conference so drawing almost no contact
- Hall's playing time has been inconsistent most of the year. A secondary scorer
- 6'7" F Gabe Brown has been one of the best shooters on this Spartan team
- 6'11" Marcus Bingham is probably the best shot blocker on the team but mostly backs up Tillman. Can shoot from outside but hasn't been hitting this year
- Sr SG Kyle Ahrens is depth on this team but is a capable outside shooter
- G Foster Loyer is backup for Winston/Watts
- F Thomas Kithier is a classic post player
- Fred Hoiberg's son Jack is a senior walk-on PG for this team. Fred actually spent a lot of time last year hanging around Michigan St's practices after he was let go by the Bulls
Michigan St started the season at #1 in the AP poll and things have gone relatively downhill since then. They lost starting senior SG Joshua Langford before the season started and have lost enough games to drop out of the polls. This is still a very, very good team....it's just not an elite team.
Defensively, Michigan St is going to give Nebraska fits tonight as they really clamp down on transition baskets and protect the rim. How you feel about our chances of hitting a bunch of 3s will echo how you feel we might do in this game.
Offensively, the Spartan are flexible enough where trying to take away something isn't really going to slow them down. Michigan St is content to beat you in whatever way you'll allow and Nebraska has 'allowed it' this year. Maybe this is a game where we let Tillman try and beat us just to switch it up.
On paper, Michigan St beats us by double digits on our home court. Perhaps they don't show up tonight though they really need wins. Perhaps all that time Fred Hoiberg spent in East Lansing last year gives us an edge. Perhaps we won't set the school record for consecutive loses tonight. Just when you think this team is going to get it's teeth kicked in they come out and show you some resolve.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Prediction: Michigan St 84 - Nebraska 68