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MSU vs. New Orleans: Preview/Game Thread

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Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Your Michigan State Spartans vs. the New Orleans Privateers
Jack Breslin Student Events Center - East Lansing, Mich.
Dec. 28, 2013, 4:15 P.M.

TV: BTN
Online streaming: BTN2Go

After getting a week off, MSU returns to action for its final nonconference game of the regular season. Once again, MSU faces a team with an awesome nickname.

The Privateers are 3-4, beating two non-D1 squads, but also KenPom No. 90 UTEP in their most recent game. UNO is No. 317 in KP, shooting up 30 spots after the UTEP win. They have recently been ranked No. 350, out of 351 teams.

New Orleans is bad in just about everything, No. 319 in adjO and No. 281 in adjD. The only thing they've been decent in is forcing turnovers at a 20.2 percent rate on defense (No. 75). They are really terrible at rebounding, so, again, let's see if MSU can build in the Texas performance on the glass.

Individually, Cory Dixon leads the way at 15.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists. His usage rate of 32.7 is No. 14 nationally, and he draws more than eight fouls per 40 minutes. Isaac Mack averages 10.5 points and 2.6 points. No one else averages more than seven points per game, but it's a deep bench.

The most interesting storylines with these games are who plays for MSU and how they do.

Matt Costello is back practicing after dealing with mono. He won't play against UNO, and his availability for the Big Ten opener against Penn State is very questionable. Gavin Schilling showed promise against Texas, while Alex Gauna didn't, so it will be interesting to see how much Schilling plays and if he can gain some confidence.

Gary Harris returned against Texas after missing time with the ankle injury. He seemed rusty at times. Keith Appling's wrist has also been bothering him, and he struggled against Texas. This is a game you expect to go deep into the bench, but after so much time off and Big Ten play next, you want to get positive work in.

KenPom predicts a 92-62 MSU win, giving the Spartans a 99 percent chance.

This is also the Game Thread. No links to illegal game streams, no slurs, and please don't feed the trolls.

GO GREEN, GO WHITE, BEAT NEW ORLEANS!