Michigan State's opponent today is the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans. The Trojans are 2-2 so far on the season, with wins at home against IUPUI and Northwestern State, and losses on the road to Tulsa and Eastern Michigan. If we're playing the transitive victory card, Ark-LR lost to Eastern by 11, who in turn lost to Texas Southern by 17. So we've got that going for us which is nice.
After the jump, a preview of Arkansas-Little Rock. As always, this is the game thread. No slurs, no links to illegal game streams, and be cool to one another.
GO GREEN, GO WHITE, BEAT ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK.
Coach: Steve Shields (132-122 at Arkansas-Little Rock, 132-122 Overall)
Last Season Overall: 19-17
Last Season In Conference (Sun Belt, West Division): 7-9, (5st in division)
In three words, the Trojans' 2010-2011 season was up, then down, then up. Arkansas-Little Rock was one of the few low-major conference teams to have a nonconference record above .500, capped with a win against Tulsa. The Sun Belt conference season did them no favors though, as they went 7-9, finishing fifth in the West season. They found redemption in a conference tournament where they defeated four teams in four days to earn an NCAA tournament bid. As a participant in one of the "First Four" games, they lost to UNC-Asheville to end their season.
The Trojans lose their top three scorers in guards Solomon Bozeman, Alex Garcia-Mendoza and Matt Mouzy. The top returning scorer is Chuck (nee Daylon) Guy, a decent shooter from three (36.8%), but not much better from two (39.7%). D'Andre Williams will look to be the leading distributor on the team as the assist leader from last season.
With only three players on the team taller than 6'7", only one of whom played for the Trojans last season, look for the Spartans to take it inside. While Arkansas-Little Rock may be athletic, this would be a fantastic game for Adreian Payne and Alex Gauna to use their size advantages to get inside and score at close range. Needless to say Draymond Green and Branden Dawson could have good outings as well.
Since the start of the season, Guy is leading the team in points with 13.0 per game, and making a third of his threes, he'll be the main guard to mark. Also as predicted, they're not the best on the boards -- they only rebound about 25% of their misses and allow opponents to collect 34% of their misfires. These are good things for MSU.
I expect a game like the last one against Texas Southern -- a bit slipshod at times in terms of turnovers, but an easy Spartan win.
FINAL SCORE: MICHIGAN STATE 72, ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK 51.