After winning the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic, No. 1 MSU returns to the court for a mid-day affair after Thanksgiving against 2-5 Mount St. Mary's (I'm going to call them MSM).
The Mountaineers lost their first five, but have won their last two, including their most recent game against a good Bucknell team. MSM is from the NEC.
MSM is No. 243 in KenPom, and they like to chuck it, with 46.3 percent of their shots coming from behind the arc (No. 10 nationally). But only 33 percent of their points come on 3s, since they're shooting 30.2 percent on them. They don't take a bunch of 2s, but MSM is shooting 51.7 percent on them.
One reason they take so many 3s is because there is just one player taller than 6-foot-6 with a usage rate of at least 12 percent, 6-foot-10 forward Kristijan Krajina (5.7 points, 4.3 rebounds per game). Because they take so many 3s, MSM rebounds just 23.4 percent of its misses (No. 330). They're No. 168 in adjO and turn the ball over just 15.4 percent of the time (No. 50)
Notable players include guard Julian Norfleet, who is averaging 18.7 points, 5.4 assists and 1.9 turnovers with a usage rate of nearly 30 percent. Guard Rashad Whack averages 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 3-pointers per game. Guard Sam Prescott averages 10.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 3-points per game. All three guards, plus Krajina are seniors.
This is one of the worst defensive teams in the nation, at No. 313 in adjD. They don't really do anything particularly well. Opponents grab 33.5 percent of their misses.
MSM is No. 250 in tempo, so MSU will want to get out running. When in the halfcourt, MSU has to show the offensive rebounding ability it needs to go far this season.
KenPom predicts an 87-62 MSU win, giving the Spartans a 98 percent chance.
Keith Appling, Adreian Payne, Branden Dawson will not start today because of class attendance issues. Gary Harris will not play (ankle).