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Michigan State Basketball vs. Rider Preview

The Spartans take on Rider in Orlando to give you something to watch after your inevitable Thanksgiving nap.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

First, happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you're spending it with people you love, and if you're spending it with some people who just annoy the hell out of you, hopefully Michigan State vs. Rider will give you some respite. Here's what you need to know:

  • Just where the heck is Rider anyway? I probably would've guessed twenty other states before I guessed New Jersey, the state Rider is in (it was originally founded as the Trenton Business College).
  • Where and when can I watch the game? It's on at 6:30 PM Eastern on ESPN2. The Lions should be done throwing away a game to the Bears around 3:30ish, so you'll have a solid 2-3 hours of napping time before tip-off.
  • Is Rider University associated in any way with Rider Strong, aka Shaun from Boy Meets World? Sad news - it does not appear so.
  • How has Rider performed so far this season? Their record is 2-2 this season, with wins at Penn (KenPom #277) and a four-point win against Lehigh (KenPom #219). Their two losses are at Princeton (KenPom #179) and a 87-60 loss at Kansas.
  • Is there a significant threat of Rider winning this game? It doesn't appear so -- although Rider's strength is shooting (38.5% from three), they give up a lot of points inside (they're currently 332 in the Division 1 in opponents' two-point percentage), and they're about average to mediocre in other defensive categories.
  • What's a fun fact I can throw out during the game to impress others? Rider is a bit of a global team - guard Teddy Okereafor (9-20 on threes this season) is originally from London, England, center Matt Lopez (7'0", no relation to Brook or Robin Lopez) has played for the Puerto Rico national team, and forward Junior Fortunat is from Montreal.
  • What does MSU need to do to win this game? Standard operating procedure for MSU basketball: keep the dumb turnovers to a minimum, make sure to work the ball inside for easy shots, have Travis Trice keep doing Travis Trice things.
  • What does KenPom predict? KenPom predicts a 72-59 MSU victory with a 91% chance of MSU winning.
  • Who does Michigan State face next in the Orlando Classic? Either Marquette or Georgia Tech. Marquette has looked absolutely horrible this season (loss to Nebraska-Omaha, almost lost to New Jersey Institute of Technology), so hope for that matchup.
  • What's the best Thanksgiving side dish? Stuffing, and I will straight-up fight every single one of you who disagrees.