Michigan State Spartans Preview
Date: Thursday, January 17th 2019
Time: 7:00pm CST
Location: Lincoln, NE
2017-18 Record: 30-5 (16-2 Big Ten Conference)
2018-19 Record: 15-2 (6-0 Big Ten Conference)
Head Coach: Tom Izzo (24th Season )
As with most seasons, Michigan State spent most of the year batting for the top spot in the nation. Only three losses marked their record before the conference tournament started. The first loss was to #1 Duke at the beginning and Ohio State and Michigan during conference play. Their 15-1 record in the Big Ten gave them the regular season conference title and secured the top spot in the tournament. There they knocked off Wisconsin in the quarterfinals before being defeated by eventual Big Ten tournament champion Michigan.
They earned the number three spot of the Midwest Regional in the NCAA Tournament. A close win against Bucknell took them to the second round before having their season end against Syracuse in a 53-55 loss to end their season.
The Spartans are once again one of the top teams in the nation. Even with the post season losses to graduation and the NBA draft they are a team that has plenty of talent in it’s depths.
They are currently 15-2 and undefeated in conference play. While they started off with a loss to then #1 ranked Kansas the Spartans have had little trouble with most of the opponents they have faced so far. Only Louisville in the Big Ten/ACC Tournament has been able to take them down. Florida came close but could not best the Spartans at their home court in East Lansing.
They are a little beat up with guard Joshua Langford missing the past few games and forward Kyle Ahreans missing the Penn State win last Sunday. Langford is averaging 15.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game this year. He has missed the past few games with an ankle injury and could possibly come back to play against the Huskers but that is still up in the air. Kyle is a little bit more probable for the game against Nebraska but it will most likely be a game time decision.
They are lead by the Great Cassius Winston. I say great because you can’t have a name like Cassius and not put great in front of it. He has upped his points per game from 12.6 to 17.6 this year while also having 2.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. Mind you, this is all coming from a 6’0” guard.
Known for having a high basketball IQ he was named to the third team all Big Ten last season and preseason all Big Ten this year. Cassius will push the Huskers from the get go and will take advantage if he finds them to be flat footed during the game.
Nick Ward is their big man that will push our forwards throughout the game. He is 6’8” and 245 pounds that will hog the paint. Nick is averaging 16.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was honorable mention and third team All Big Ten last year by the coaches and media respectively.
Like Cassius, he was also named to this years preseason All Big Ten team. He dominated the paint last year against Nebraska and I would expect this high caliber player to do the same on Thursday night. If you think Isaiah Roby can dunk, check out Nick when he has an opening under the basket. He can throw down with the best of them.
The game is in Lincoln and Nebraska has had some luck against Michigan State in the past. However, I do not see this being a win in their favor. The Huskers will be able to play for awhile against the Spartans but size and depth will most likely carry Michigan State to the win.
Michigan State University 83 University of Nebraska 71