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Game Thread: Oakland Golden Grizzlies vs. Michigan State Spartans

NCAA Basketball: Oakland at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans men basketball team (6-3) has had nearly a full week off since defeating Rutgers last Sunday, and should be well rested to take on in-state foe Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies come in with a 5-5 record and have lost three of their past four games (all against MAC competition). Tip-off is set for noon at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Michigan State is 16-0 all-time against Oakland, although OU has put some scares into MSU at times. The Grizzlies sent the Spartans to overtime in the 2015-2016 season, and lost by just four points in the 2013-2014 season and just one point in the 2010-2011 season.

The Spartans will be without freshman guard Rocket Watts for the second consecutive game, which likely means sophomore Gabe Brown remains in the starting lineup. It will be interesting to see who starts at the four-spot as well between Marcus Bingham Jr., Thomas Kithier, or even possibly Malik Hall.

Oakland is led by forward Xavier Hill-Mais who averages about 16 points and eight rebounds in about 32 minutes per game. Fellow forward Daniel Oladapo is scoring about 11.5 points per game while grabbing more than seven rebounds per contest. Side note: Does anybody else find it ironic that Victor Oladipo and Daniel Oladapo played high school ball not even two miles away from each other in Maryland? Other names to watch out for include center Brad Brechting, and guards Tray Maddox Jr. and Kevin Kangu.

Honestly, the Spartans shouldn’t have a lot of trouble improving to 7-3 in this one. MSU has won each of the past three games against Oakland by at least 12 points, including a 30-point drubbing last season. The 2019-2020 Grizzlies haven’t even been able to hang with most MAC-level teams, so I see a relatively easy victory here. Then again, Oakland has pushed Michigan State to the brink a few times, so you never know.

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