Oakland returns to the Breslin center in which has become a perennial matchup between in-state programs. MSU leads this series 20-0. Just like last season MSU will be facing Oakland after a much needed long layoff. MSU coaches have bemoaned the fact that the Spartans have had no time to focus on themselves and developing the freshman with their rigorous travel and playing schedules.
This will be the 12th consecutive match up between these teams, and I have started to believe that Izzo promised Kampe we wouldn't play defense if he continued to schedule us. The last two games were high scoring affairs with the Spartans allowing 78 and 91 points. In 2015 we had an overtime game that ended 99-93 (Kay Felder 37 points, Eron Harris 27 Points).
Gone from last year's team to many Spartans delight are Jamal Cain & Micah Parrish who torched the Spartans for 20 & 19 respectively and were virtually unstoppable all game. However Oakland returns Jalen Moore who torched us for 25 points and Trey Townsend who added 14 of his own and is this teams leading scorer. Starting Lineup below.
Trey Townsend F 6-6" 222lbs (19.8PPG, 9RPG) 36 Min
Keaton Hervey F 6-4" 200lbs (14.4PPG, 7.2RPG) 33.5 Min
Jalen Moore G 5-11" 165lbs (12.5PPG, 4.8APG) 36.6 Min
Mark Watts G 6'2" 187LBS (8.0PPG, 1.6APG) 25.3 Min
Will Shepherd F 6'8" 220LBS (2.8PPG, 1.4RPG) 11.4
Blake Lampman G 6'3" (8PPG) plays 30 minutes off the bench.
Oakland doesn't have a player on the roster taller than 6'9" Conway 11 MPG & Shephard above 6'8" 11 MPG, the next tallest guy is 6'6" Trey Townsend. If the freshmen bigs got their practice reps they should be able to dominate this with height alone. Otherwise we could see Joey facing off against Shepherd in the post with our small ball lineup of Walker, AJ, Akins, Brooks and Joey.
The Spartans will play this one without Malik Hall who has been practicing but Izzo already ruled out for this one, guessing we will see him for some stretches in the next game. Izzo said he has done some defensive shuffling drills without pain but they will continue to test it and err on the side of caution.
I guess we cannot continue the preview without mentioning Mark Watts who was formerly known as Spartan experimental PG Rocket Watts. Rocket played with the Spartans two season, he was a recruit that we really were excited about, he was extremely fast with the ball and had a good jab step, step back(drove Izzo nuts), and other exciting moves. Rocket never shot above 28.1% from three for the Spartans, never seemed to grasp the defense or the PG duties although he played over 22 MPG in each of his seasons with us. Truth be told we were never really given a full glimpse into what went into his decisions to leave or whether it was a mutual decision.
Let's face it, even though their two main guys torched this same roster last season, i really like our matchups, I like Walker on Moore, I like Akins on Mark Watts, I like AJ on Hervey, Trey may light up Joey but Joey may be able to muscle him right back on the other end, and I like any of our centers against the front line of Oakland.
If this game is close it's because Izzo is treating it as a scrimmage and playing some very challenged lineups, such as Tre, Pierre, Whitens, Joey & Kohler.
Prediction: MSU 75 OU 65
Izzo gets a bucket
How To Watch
- When: Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Jack Breslin Student Events Center -- East Lansing, Michigan
- TV: Big Ten Network