Preview: Michigan State Spartans vs. Toledo Rockets

Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. the TOLEDO ROCKETS
THE BRESLIN CENTER, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN
6:30 P.M. (ET), FRIDAY

TV: BIG TEN NETWORK

Rocket bullets:

  • 2009 record of 7-25; 5-11 in the MAC; 0-16 on the road.
  • 2009 Kenpom ranking: #300.  Adjusted offensive efficiency ranking: #307.  Adjusted defensive efficiency: #254.
  • 0-2 in their first two games of the new season: 10-point loss to Eastern Illinois, 24-point loss to Cincinnati.
  • Toledo returns 2 of 5 starters; top two scorers from last two season are gone.
  • Top two leading scorers through two games this season are both freshmen guards: 6'3" Stephen Albrecht (17.0 points/game on 8-17 three-point shooting) and 6'5" Jake Barnett (15.0 points/game on 4-7 three-point shooting).
  • 6'9" junior forward/center Justin Anyijong is the team's leading rebounder (5.5/game) and can apparently shoot the ball from outside, as well: 4-10 from beyond the arc to date.

 

This game is technically part of the opening round of the Legends Classic.  But, even if MSU were to get upset, it wouldn't affect who they play in the remaining three rounds of the classic.  So it's basically just another nonconference home game.

Toledo was not a very good basketball team last year, and that doesn't appear to have changed so far this season.  Offensively, turnovers are their biggest problem.  Last season, the Rockets turned the ball over on 25.5% of their possessions.  That number is up to 27.5% this season.

On the defensive end, Toledo allowed opponents to pull down 36.4% of offensive rebounding opportunities last season.  Cincinnati took advantage of that weakness in their game last night, posting an offensive rebounding percentage of 41.2%.

Raymar Morgan says he's expecting to play tomorrow night, but Tom Izzo doesn't sound convinced.  (Also: Garrick Sherman sat out practice with a deep thigh bruise, which may explain why he didn't play at all down the stretch against Gonzaga.)  Erring on the side of caution definitely makes sense here.  I love the guts Morgan showed Tuesday night, but we're going to need him more against Florida (next Friday) and North Carolina (the Tuesday that follows) than we're going to need him this weekend against Toledo and Valparaiso.

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