Your MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs the WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE PANTHERS
Michigan State will face its stiffest test since Duke in Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Horizon League team that's won its first four games, including a 73-38 beating of Texas Southern. That's one side of the coin, the other is a two-point win on the road over Northern Illinois, a team currently ranked 334th.on KenPom. This game should be a bit tougher than the other two, but if MSU doesn't win this game, I'm going to be upset.
After the jump you'll find a preview of the Panthers I wrote this summer. This is the game thread, and the same rules apply as always: No slurs, no links to illegal game streams, and be cool to one another.
GO GREEN, GO WHITE, BEAT MILWAUKEE.
Coach: Rob Jeter (101-89 at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 101-89 Overall)
Last Season Overall: 19-14
Last Season In Conference (Horizon League): 13-5 (T-1st)
Top Returning Players: Tony Meier (12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Kaylon Williams (8.3 ppg, 5.4 apg), Ja'Rob McCallum (7.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg)
The Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers had a so-so start to their season, going 6-7 in their first 13 games highlighted by a win over Northern Iowa. They entered the brunt of their Horizon League schedule, where they did the near-unthinkable - they beat Butler twice in conference, and secured a tie for the regular season championship with the Bulldogs and Cleveland State. Alas, they couldn't make it three victories against Butler in the conference championship semifinals, and they went to the NIT, where they lost to Northwestern in the first round.
Like many of the Spartans' nonconference low to mid-major opponents, the Panthers lose some of their top scorers. The top two scorers from last season, Anthony Hill and Tone Boyle, leave. The next top three scorers stay though, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee will look to be paced by Tony Meier, a very efficient scorer (59.4% from two, 44.3% from three) who rarely has turnovers, and Kaylon Williams, one of the top assist-men (5.4 per game, assisted on 34% of the Panthers' buckets while on the floor) in the nation.
The player to shut down will be Meier - he's dangerous inside and out, and has size (6'8", 210 lbs). Branden Dawson will most likely to be tasked with shutting him down, while Keith Appling will have to make sure Williams can't get the ball to him. For all of that offensive prowess, the Panthers were quite mediocre defensively (49.0% of opponents' twos and 36.0% of their threes were made, both in the lower third of Division one), and if the Spartans are steady offensively, they should prevail.