Michigan State men’s basketball will retake the court after the holiday break against Indiana State. The Spartans are favored in this game, but the Indiana State Sycamores are playing very good basketball. The Sycamore are undefeated with their center sophomore Robbie Avila in the lineup for an overall 11 and 1 record.
The Spartans will be looking to regain the momentum they built up before the Christmas break and adjust to life without freshman backup point guard Jeremy Fears.
Game Time: Saturday, December 30th at 2:00pm (US East Coast Time)
Watch the game: FS1 (Or streaming in the FoxSports App with a cable subscription)
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Some basics to sound like a pro:
The Spartans have essentially had two seasons. The first nine games of the season the Spartans were shaky at best. They opened the season with a loss to James Madison then stacked losses to their quality non-conference opponents Duke and Arizona before dropping two games to open Big Ten Play. After falling to 4 and 5 the Spartans drastically changed the outlook of their season by dominating (then) top ten ranked Baylor and ripping off big wins against two lower level opponents.
If Michigan State can come out playing the intense defense and hit outside shots like they did in that three game stretch this should be another good win for the team before they restart Big Ten play.
Making it harder for the Spartans to get rolling will be the loss of Jeremy Fears. The backup point guard had emerged as a ferocious defender and handed out ten assists in his last game. Fears was the victim of a non-fatal shooting over the holiday break and is feared to be lost for the season. The Spartans have the depth to make up for the absence of Fears but it will require the team to re-tool a lineup that had finally started to coalesce over the recent stretch of big wins.
Indiana State University
The last time Michigan State faced off against Indiana State was 1979 where the two programs met in the national championship. Since then, the Spartans have gone on to be a storied program while Indiana State has settled as a mid major team with some good years.
This year appears to be a very good year for the Sycamores. Admittedly against mostly mid and low major programs, Indiana State has played very impressive basketball this season. The team is number 3 nationally in 3-point shooting, with seven players hitting more than 37% from three.
Sophomore big man Robbie Avila is the most concerning weapon for the Spartans. The 6’10” center averages almost 17 points and nearly 7 rebounds a game. This includes shooting 47% from three (on about 1.5 attempts per game). Avila’s size and range should be a challenge for Michigan State’s at times limited front court.
While Indiana State is averaging 88 points a game they have yet to play a team with a defense near MSU’s abilities.
This could be a more challenging game than anyone expected for the Spartans.
BBD: 78-68 MSU win
O: 85-66 Spartans win