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Michigan State Men’s Basketball: Oakland Preview

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NCAA Basketball: Western Michigan at Michigan State Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info:

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan

When: 12 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020

TV/Radio: FS1/Spartan Sports Network radio

Oakland (0-6): No. 292 (Kenpom)

Depth Chart:

1 - Jalen Moore (5’11” jr)
2 - Rashad Williams (6’2” jr), Blake Lampman (6’3” so)
3 - Micah Parrish (6’6” fr), Zion Young (6’4” jr), Kevin Kangu (6’4” sr)
4 - Trey Townsend (6’6” fr)
5 - Daniel Oladapo (6’7” jr), Yusuf Jihad (6’8” fr), Chris Conway (6’10” fr)

Scout:

Oakland is better than their record and their current Kenpom rating, but it is unclear how much better. Like most years, Greg Kampe has scheduled a ton of good teams to start the year, and has suffered the expected consequences: Oakland has opened the season with big losses to Xavier, Toledo, Bradley, and Purdue, while taking Michigan to overtime, and playing Oklahoma State closer than the final score.

Oakland plays a mix of man-to-man and various forms of zone —including a 2-3, 1-3-1, and a match-up 2-3 zone. Michigan really struggled with the zone, but they are not a great defensive team, if their opposition runs effective zone offense and if they hit open shots. Simply put, Oakland gives up a lot of high quality looks for their opponents.

On offense, Oakland relies on Jalen Moore, who is a good scorer and creator, whose best quality might be getting to the free-throw line. Williams and Young are their best shooters, and Williams, in particular is a guy to watch. He has been in and out of the line-up to open the season, but, finally healthy, he put up 32 points (on 10-20 from three-point range) against Oklahoma State.

Oakland runs a lot of pick and roll, and will run a ton of floppy sets in and around the paint and will try to find elbow attack opportunities and baseline clear-outs for anyone with a match-up advantage.

Film Study:

Key Players:

Jalen Moore and Rashad Williams form a truly dynamic duo in the back-court for Oakland. Both guys can really fill it up, will attack the rim, and will pull up from anywhere behind the arc.

Game plan:

Lock down the two guards, and execute the zone offense. Expect Watts, Henry, and Langford to be the keys defensively, on the dynamic Oakland back-court, and look for Marcus Bingham Jr. and Julius Marble to have dominant rim-protection games.

On offense, Malik Hall and Joey Hauser should give Oakland fits at the elbow, and Gabe Brown and Aaron Henry should have big games out in transition.

I am particularly interested to see if Henry and Hall can get themselves going a bit from beyond the arc, and to see if Gabe Brown can assert himself more on the glass—which should be a major advantage and focus for the Spartans generally. Oakland is a small team and Michigan State should dominate the painted area on both ends.

Prediction:

Expect a dominant performance now that Tom Izzo has had a week to prepare the team and refine their offensive execution. With teams around the country losing games to seemingly lesser teams, and with this season potentially under threat of a major pandemic-related storm that is brewing, the Spartans will take this game seriously and play it joyfully.

MSU 90 Oakland 64

PPTPW

GO GREEN!!!