Previewing MSU at Bowling Green


Game time: 7 p.m.
Location: Stroh Center - Bowling Green, Ohio
Online streaming: (ESPN3 in the Western U.S.)
Radio: Spartan Sports Network

MSU basketball's gauntlet stretch on the schedule comes to an end Tuesday, as the Spartans travel to Bowling Green to take on the 5-4 Falcons.

The new state-of-the-art Stroh Center was actually dedicated with a volleyball win over MSU, so it's quite the house of horrors for Spartans.

MSU is on a four-game winning streak, but wins against two 300+ KenPom teams and a D2 squad haven't done much to solve questions or ease worries about this team. The Falcons are No. 196 in KenPom. There are some decent wins (Detroit), but some bad losses (IUPUI). This certainly will be one of the biggest home games in BG hoops history in quite some time. MSU has a 10-3 record against the Falcons, but lost the last time it traveled to Bowling Green — a stunning 98-85 whooping put on the No. 5 Spartans in 1990.

The 2012 Falcons won't be putting up 98 this time around. They struggle quite a bit on offense with an eFG% of 45 (ranked No. 261). They shoot just 45.9 percent on 2s and 28.8 percent on 3s. They shoot well from the line (75.9 percent), but they don't get there often. BG does rank No. 56 in the country in block%.

On defense, they're a bit better, holding opponents to shoot 45.2 percent on 2s (see the above block number). Opponent do shoot a whopping 37.7 percent on 3s, so maybe some of that magic will float the Spartans' way.

It's a slow team, with an adjusted tempo of 63.5, so again, don't expect a shootout. KenPom pegs it as a 64-54 MSU win, giving BG a 14 percent chance.

Offensively, it's a two-man game for the Falcons. Guard Jordon Crawford averages 16.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He's No. 84 in the nation in the nation with a 29.1 possession usage. The other notable player is A'uston Calhoun, who averages 16.1 points and 7.0 rebounds. His possession usage is 26.0, which is No. 266 in the nation.

Outside of that, there aren't any real scoring threats. Their third leading scorer averages 5.9 points per game. I mentioned the block numbers above, 6-foot-8 forward Richaun Holmes is No. 11 in the country with a 14.1 block%, an average of 2.1 per game (though he only has two starts). He's also No. 99 with a 13.5 offensive rebound percentage, although the Falcons as a team are No. 299 in the nation in that stat.

All in all, MSU should take care of business. I imagine the Bowling Green students are on vacation, so I don't know how much of a home-court advantage there will be.

With Texas and at Minnesota as the next two games on the schedule, it would be nice for MSU put on a performance that didn't make everyone scared of Big Ten play. The time to adjust and gel is just about over.

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