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Michigan State Basketball: Florida Preview

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MSU takes on Florida as part of a home-and-home series where they are also honoring the 2000 National Championship team

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Florida

Location: East Lansing, MI

Time: 6:00pm EST

Channel: ESPN2

KenPom Line: MSU -7

MSU looks to extend their 10-0 winning streak to start the season against a very solid Florida team. Some thoughts on their playstyle:

  • Their best player is 6'8" senior Dorian Finney-Smith who's a tough matchup at the 4 with his size and ability to shoot from outside (36.4% from 3, over 40% last year). He gets to the FT line at a decent rate and he has solid rebounding, steal, and block rates.
  • Their point guard is a former top 10 recruit in Kasey Hill who has had a pretty disappointing college career. He's shooting under 35% from the field and has a worse than 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. He has a decent steal rate but their better option might still be Chris Chiozza who's been more efficient from the floor (in a lower usage role).
  • John Egbunu is a physical specimen at 6'11" 255 with good leaping ability to go along with it. He has a great stats across the board in rebounding, shot-blocking, FG%, and even has a solid FT% at better than 75%. He's a little foul prone and turns it over a bit too much but he's one of the most athletic bigs MSU will have faced so far.
  • One issue with this team is that there's a lot of young guys trying to show they can shoot 3's when their percentages don't agree with them (team 3P% at 28.9%). Sophomore Devin Robinson is great when he's not shooting 3's (26%), freshman KeVaughn Allen is shooting poorly (22%), and freshman Brandone Francis-Ramirez has been pretty underwhelming so far (17%). MSU hopes these guys try to prove that they can make 3's against them.
  • Florida has the best defense of anyone MSU has played (#3 nationally) but MSU does have some experience against good defense as both Louisville and Kansas also have top 10 defenses.

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

MSU on Defense

[Florida doesn't turn it over, MSU doesn't turn opponents over]

Things to watch

  • We've had a bullet point for Harris almost every preview but that's because he appears to have the ability to take this MSU team to another level. He shot 4-4 from 3 last game but also had 4 turnovers. Can he create offense and be the second star people thought he'd be coming into this year?
  • Who guards Finney-Smith? Against Louisville's huge frontcourt MSU went with slightly bigger Kenny Goins over undersized 4's in Javon Bess and Marvin Clark. Finney-Smith at 220 might be just small enough for Bess and Clark to cover so MSU will likely go with their more traditional rotation.
  • In the first two games of the Wooden Legacy Tum Tum Nairn scored an efficient 21 points. Since then he's had 3 points in 4 games. He'll be going against  a couple pretty quick guards in Hill and Chiozza so it'll be interesting to see whether or not he's able to get his offense going again.
Bottom Line

MSU is at home and should have enough firepower to overcome Florida's strong defense. Florida isn't a good shooting team and MSU has been great on the defensive glass and limiting opponents' second chances.

MSU 72-Florida 67