It's finally here! The basketball season couldn't have come at a better time as the Spartans take on the Division II Ferris State Bulldogs. This exhibition game and the following one against Hillsdale will be the only live-game preparation MSU gets before jumping right into the fire against North Carolina and Duke.
If you are able to watch the game (and I'm not sure yet if I will be) you can post your comments here. It is only available as a live stream on the Big Ten Network website. If that's not an option for you it will be replayed Monday at 4pm (ET) on the Big Ten Network.
- Ferris State won the GLIAC North Division last year with a 24-8 record and reached the Division II Sweet Sixteen.
- The Bulldogs return 8 players from that team, including leading scorer Kenny Brown (9.2 ppg) and senior point guard Dontae Molden.
- Ferris almost took down Indiana in an exhibition game last year, losing in overtime after a potential buzzer-beater in regulation was waved off after replay review.
- The head coach is Bill Sall, in his 10th year at helm with a 141-120 record. He was the GLIAC coach of the year last year.
For the Spartans we will get our first look at incoming freshmen Branden Dawson, Brandan Kearney and Travis Trice. Russell Byrd and Alex Gauna return from redshirt years and Valparaiso transfer Brandon Wood will also see his first action as a Spartan.
One point of interest will be how the point guard duties are distributed. Sophomore Keith Appling is expected to be the primary replacement for the departed Kalin Lucas, but coach Tom Izzo also wants Appling to become more of a scorer this year so we should see a fair amount of Trice at the point in this game. A newly slimmed down (again) Derrick Nix will be battling Adreian Payne for starts and playing time. Both have shown improvement in the offseason. Enjoy the game.