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Game Thread: Northwestern Wildcats vs. Michigan State Spartans

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans return to the Breslin Center tonight to take on the Northwestern Wildcats. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. EST, and for those of you who are not in attendance, you can catch the game on Big Ten Network.

MSU enter’s tonight’s game with a 15-5 overall record. The team is coming off of a crucial road win against Minnesota, and finds itself tied with Illinois atop the Big Ten Conference standings at 7-2. Northwestern, on the other hand, is reeling. The Wildcats come to East Lansing with just a 6-13 record, including a 1-8 mark in Big Ten play. In fact Northwestern has lost four games in a row, and nine of its last ten games. The squad is just 1-5 in true road games this season.

Michigan State beat Northwestern in Evanston on Dec. 18 by a score of 77-72. MSU took a double-digit lead into the half, however the Wildcats battled back, outscoring the Spartans 45-40 in the second, but eventually fell short. As usual Cassius Winston (21 points and six assists) and Xavier Tillman (15 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) led the charge offensively for the Spartans, with Gabe Brown adding 11 points and 10 rebounds. Northwestern freshman guard Daniel “Boo” Buie provided a huge spark off of the bench, with 26 points and five three-pointers (on seven attempts), while Pete Nance finished 14 points and seven boards.

Miller Kopp leads the Wildcats with 13.6 points per game. Pat Spencer (11.1 ppg), along with the aforementioned Buie (10.2 ppg), are also scoring threats for the Wildcats. Nance and Ryan Young lead Northwestern in rebounding with 6.4 boards per contest.

Honestly, this a matchup of the Big Ten’s best against the Big Ten’s last place team. Michigan State shouldn’t have many issues taking care if Northwestern tonight however, stranger things have happened, so the Spartans certainly cannot afford to look past this team.

Here is your game thread.