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Michigan State-UMass Mini-Preview/Game Thread Combo Pack

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[Given the short turnaround, we'll meld the two posts together.]

Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. the UMASS MINUTEMEN
BOARDWALK HALL, ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
5:30 P.M. (ET), SATURDAY
RADIO: SPARTAN SPORTS NETWORK (list of Michigan affiliates)

TV: HDNET

Minutemen bullets:

  • 2009 record of 12-18; 7-9 in the Atlantic 10; KenPom ranking of #132.
  • 2-3 thus far in the new season against fairly unimpressive competition.
  • Defense has been the problem: They've allowed at least 1.09 points per possession in the three losses. Some of that's been a function of very, very good 3-point shooting by their opponents, though (47.0%).
  • Offensively, UMass has shown a pretty good knack for grabbing rebounds (39.8% OffReb%).
  • Leading scorer is 6'2" senior guard Ricky Harris, who's averaging 18.2 points/game on a .586/.326/.652 shooting line.
  • Anthony Gurley, a 6'3" guard who comes off the bench, is averaging 17.0 points/game on a .571/.300/.800 shooting line. Gurley transferred from Wake Forest two years ago.
  • Keeping the UMass guards out of the lane would appear to be a key on defense. They take a lot of 3-pointers but haven't been making them at a high rate. If I recall correctly from the portion of the game vs. Rutgers I watched yesterday, the guy who developed the dribble drive offense is an assistant coach for UMass now (confirmed: Vance Walberg).
  • UMass head coach Derrick Kellogg uses a 10-man rotation, so depth doesn't look to be a big advantage in this game. Still, it'd be great to get a healthy lead fairly early in this game and rotate bench players in freely to be somewhat well rested for the UNC game on Tuesday.

That's all I've got today. And I'll be out of commission for watching/commenting on the game tonight due to a family holiday event. So you'll have to chat amongst yourselves in the space below. The game recap probably won't be up until later in the day/evening tomorrow.

Hard to get too excited about this game. But we certainly need a win.

Go State.