Arizona and Michigan State entered the season planning paths to a national championship. One of those teams has looked the part (Arizona) the other is still finding itself (Michigan State). This is going to be an important game for both programs.
Game Time: Thursday, November 23 at 4:00pm (US East Coast Time)
Watch the game: Fox (Streaming on FoxSports with a subscription)
Comment and Follow Live at the GAME THREAD HERE (live at 2pm)
Some basics to sound like a pro:
Michigan State came into the season ranked in the top 5 in almost every poll and with clear national championship goals. An opening game loss to James Madison University (who admittedly has looked very good) and a loss to Duke has let more doubt than expected creep in.
Two wins in a row have helped fans get a more comfortable. The win over Butler made it look like the team was figuring it out, and the Alcorn State game was a complete performance in a blowout win against an overmatched performance. Still, Michigan State looks to be figuring it out.
The early season shooting woes are slowly turning into a bit more consistency (helped by a 5 for 5 performance by Tre Holloman against Alcorn State). The emergence of Carson Cooper at center is also giving hope for improved offensive flow, even if he doesn’t present true scoring potential yet.
Michigan State’s biggest concern in this game is going to be size. MSU’s roster is dominated by undersized guards and an undersized power forward in Malik Hall. They are veteran enough potentially to overcome this, but it will be hard against a legitimately huge Arizona roster.
Arizona is a combination of talented transfers and simply enormous individuals. North Carolina transfer Caleb Love has seemingly been reborn as a point guard and is running the offense as one of the most efficient players in the country. To put it politely, that was not his style at UNC. Also of note is Keshad Johnson from San Diego State who hit the go-ahead three pointer in the recent win over Duke.
In the front court Arizona has four players at least seven feet tall. Two of whom, Oumar Ballo and Motiejus Krivas average just over 17 minutes apiece. The rest of the lineup is not exactly small.
Oh, and the lineup can shoot as well.
Five players are hitting more than 50% from three, including leading scorer Kylan Boswell who is shooting an insane 68% (15 of 22).
The Wildcats scoring is balanced. Their size and athleticism has meant they rebound and defend well. This will be a tall test for the Spartans.
Andy: 74-72 MSU Win
BBD: 79-68 Arizona win
O: 78-71 MSU Win