The Spartans are finally back in action on Sunday after a much deserved week off for finals. Well maybe not a week off, but they didn’t have to play any basketball games at least.
On the docket is a home game against Green Bay. So let’s get to know the opponents from America’s Dairyland.
Who: University of Wisconsin Green Bay
Conference: Horizon League
Game Time: 5:00 pm on Sunday the 16th
TV: Big Ten Network
The Phoenix of Green Bay are currently 6-4 under fourth year head coach Linc Darner. They last made the NCAA tournament in 2016 after winning the Horizon League Tournament. It was their first tournament appearance in 20 years, and they were trounced by Texas A&M in the first round.
Last year the Phoenix finished 13-20 and were not invited to a post-season tournament for the first time since 2012.
Of the six wins UW-GB has this year, two of them are to non-D1 opponents Wisconsin Lutheran and Wisconsin Stout, the latter of which I’m pretty sure is a beer not a school.
Their best win of the season came at home against Belmont. They also lost by 11 at Iowa and at Oregon in their only games against power five opponents this year.
While MSU will be working on a week’s rest, the Phoenix play at Creighton tonight (Friday) before heading to East Lansing on Sunday.
Green Bay is number 203 in the KenPom rankings. They are ranked below 200 in both offensive and defensive efficiencies.
Looking at the four factors, they are 175th in eFG%, 296th in offensive rebounding, and 174th in free throw rate. The one area they are good at is that they don’t turn the ball over, checking in at 16th in offensive turnover rate.
On the defensive side they aren’t much better, and they are especially bad at allowing other teams to get to the free throw line.
They also aren’t a great shooting team, although they are slightly above average on three pointers and right about average on twos. However, they are an atrocious free throw shooting team, at 61.3% overall.
Players to Watch
The Phoenix have three players that average double figures in scoring. Sandy Cohen is a 6-6 senior that leads the team at 14.8 points per game. He also leads the team in assists and steals, and is second in rebounding. Cohen is also one of a trio of players shooting about 37% from beyond the arc.
The other two players averaging double figures checking in at a little over 13 points per game each are ShanQuan “Tank” Hemphill and JayQuan McCloud. And I personally cannot wait to hear Will Tieman handle that duo’s names throughout the broadcast.
Hemphill is a 6-6 junior who does his work inside the arc, where he shoots nearly 60 percent. McCloud is a 6-2 junior who takes more threes than twos.
After the big three Green Bay has four other guys who all average right around 20 minutes per game and chip in six to eight points each. The tallest guys on the roster are Manny Patterson and Cody Schwartz, who are listed at 6-8, with Patterson leading the team in rebounding at 6.2 boards per game.
The Spartans should have their way in this one and hopefully Izzo can continue to get Cassius Winston some breaks and keep the minutes down.