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MSU Basketball: Florida Gulf Coast Preview and Gamethread

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Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Basics (David Harns):

East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State’s men’s basketball team plays its 2018-19 regular season home opener on Sunday, Nov. 11, hosting Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) at 6 p.m.

The game will air live on BTN, with Brandon Gaudin calling the play-by-play and Jon Crispin serving as the color analyst. The Spartan Sports Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and on the web at SpartanSportsNetwork.com, with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst. The game can also be heard on Sirius 121, XM 195 and Internet 957. For Sunday’s MSU Basketball broadcast WDRQ – 93.1FM Detroit will be airing the Spartans broadcast in its entirety. When WJR has concluded its Detroit Lions broadcast, it will join the MSU broadcast in progress. When that happens both stations will be airing Spartan Basketball.

This will be the third all-time meeting between Michigan State and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). The Spartans lead the head-to-head series, 2-0, with both wins against the Eagles coming at the Breslin Center. In 2016, Michigan State led by two points (38-36) at the break and hung on for a 78-77 win over FGCU.

The Eagles are under the direction of first-year head coach Michael Fly, who was an assistant for seven years and was part of the staff that led the Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen during the 2013 NCAA Tournament. FGCU went 23-12 last year and lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament to Oklahoma State.

Florida Gulf Coast (0-1) scouting report and match-up preview (TilltheBitterEnd aka Sam Tyler):

AP (NR), USA/Coaches (NR), Kenpom (201)

Florida Gulf Coast lost their first game on the road at Illinois St (Kenpom 92) 74-66. That game saw Illinois St. have a big game from their top big (17 points on 10 fga and 13 fta), and FGCU rely on their point guard (Casimir - 18 pts, including 6-7 from 3!!!), and two other wings (Cheatham - 10 pts - and, off the bench, Mercurius - 11 pts including 3-6 from 3) for most of their production.

FGCU is a mostly back-court driven team, with some foul-machines (including our old friend, and UM transfer, Ricky Doyle) in the front-court. FGCU shot 40% on nearly 30 3’s in their first game, and look for them to bomb early and often vs MSU. They also turned the ball over 20 times, so MSU may be able to get some points off of turnovers depending on FGCU’s preference for how they like to turn it over. They play 1 big almost all of the time - so Kenny G, Ahrens, and Henry may end up playing most of the minutes at the 4 for MSU. Finally, FGCU doesn’t get to the line much (22 offensive FTR), and let the Red Birds get to the line a bunch in their first game (42 defensive FTR).

Winston, Langford, McQ, and Loyer will all have a good test in defending Casimir, but, unlike the Kansas game, expect MSU’s help defense to be much improved given the relative paucity of secondary options (keep an eye out on their wings on kick-out 3’s). This will also be a great test for Ward, Tillman, and Goins because FGCU will likely put our bigs in tons of PnR action. If Ward and Tillman hold up well and defend the first and second action effectively, especially early, then MSU should be able to get out to an early lead and COAST to a relatively easy win (see what I did there? It was subtle...).

On offense, look for MSU to send it in to Ward, and let’s pray that he takes his time and is a willing passer, especially early, so that the paint can open for him later. Be patient Nick!!! I am guessing that MSU attacks the paint and gets to the line about 25 times (this will be a welcome and recurring feature this season I predict). If the good-guys hit their fts, this game will be a BREEZE (...because you tend to get a nice breeze in coastal areas and MSU is playing Florida Gulf COAST...so...).

Prediction:

MSU 80 FGCU 65

I am so sorry... I promise to never make another pun or reference-related humor-attempt again...

Make game-thread go now!