Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI
When: 2:00pm (ET), February 9, 2019
TV/Radio: ESPN/Spartan Sports Network radio
Minnesota 16-7 (6-6): #51 (Kenpom)
1 - McBrayer (6’5” sr), Washington (6’1” so)
2 - Kaluscher (6’4” fr)
3 - Coffey (6’8” jr), Stull (6’4” sr)
4 - Murphy (6’7” sr), Curry (6’9” so), Hurt (6’7” jr)
5 - Oturu (6’10” fr), Stockman (7’0” sr)
Coffee and Murphy are outstanding, we match up well with Murphy (looking at you KG), it is unclear how well Henry and Ahrens will do against Curry.
Curry is another tough match-up but isn’t ready to consistently impose himself, and Oturu is a massive and ultra-talented freshman big who will give Ward and Tillman all they can handle. Minnesota has a couple of very good rebounders in Murphy and Oturu (Minnesota is the #20 team in the nation in O-reb%, so this will be yet another test of our defensive rebounding; hopefully everyone shows up...), but I think we actually match-up decently with their rebounders - it is all about positioning.
Minnesota gets to the line (#7 in the nation in ft rate), so playing solid and staying good help position will be essential. They aren’t a great 3pt shooting team - with Kaluscher their only player above 35% for the year.
Murphy and Coffee. They drive, they handle, they rebound, they get to the line, they can make plays. Goins and Ahrens/Henry will have to be on their games and to give as good as they get. If we “draw” these match-ups, then we win the game.
I think this game is a huge one for Aaron Henry. He hasn’t played well in the last four games, and Curry is the kind of guy who could give us fits: I see this as a game where Henry can earn his way back into Izzo’s good graces, and I believe he will.
Winston should have a much easier time, and Ward should be able to operate successfully against Minnesota’s bigs (Oturu can get in foul trouble, and Curry isn’t strong enough to handle Nick).
Defend, rebound, and execute in the half-court (I doubt we get much in the way of a fast-break going given that Izzo will be sending 5 to the defensive glass every defensive possession).
Find a way to win. Very much a PPTPW game.
MSU 80 Minnesota 70