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Nebrasketball: Michigan State Preview

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The Spartans are beat up, but they’re still the Spartans

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State Preview

Date: Tuesday, March 5th

Time: 6:00pm CST

Location: East Lansing, MI

TV: ESPN2

2018-19 Record: 23-6 (14-4 Big Ten Conference)

Last Meeting: Michigan State 70 Nebraska 64 on January 17th

Ranking: #7 Coaches & #11 AP

The Spartans have had a few bumps in the road this year but for what it’s worth is still a high caliber tournament team. Since the win over Nebraska in January they have gone 7-4. While that record doesn’t seem like a lot to write home about it came at the start of the meat of their conference slate along with a few injuries to boot.

After beating the Huskers in Lincoln they then went on to pick up wins against #13 Maryland and #19 Iowa. From there they had a rough patch of three losses in a row to Purdue, Indiana, and Illinois. Purdue being the the “best” loss out of the bunch.

They then picked up steam with five straight wins over Minnesota, #20 Wisconsin, Ohio State, Rutgers, and #7 Michigan. They most recently loss a close one to Indiana in Bloomington 62-63.

So, not a bad slate for any team. There have been some head scratching losses in there including losing to Indiana twice. Overall, they’ve played well and should be rewarded with a nice seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

They are still led by Cassius Winston at guard. He is averaging a whopping 19.2 points per game along with 3.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists. Against Nebraska in January he had a season high of 29 points. He is easily one of the top players in the Big Ten and I fully expect to see him put on another show in East Lansing Thursday night. Hands down the biggest threat in Michigan States arsenal.

Xavier Tillman has filled in for all the injuries to the Spartan squad fairly well. He only had 5 points against Nebraska but is averaging 9 points and 7 rebounds per game. He is young and still a little raw but 6’8” 250lb frame will give Nebraska plenty of problems during the game.

Forward Nick Ward is still out with a hand injury and is not expected to play. This is good for Nebraska as he had 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Huskers. His presence is missed by the Spartans but their depth more than makes up for it and I doubt it will limit their chances against Nebraska.

Prediction

Indiana beat a beat up Spartan squad by 1 point on Saturday. I would say that should give Nebraska a little hope on Tuesday. Normally it might but this team seems to be on a downward spiral. It also hurts that Thomas Allen is out with an ankle sprain. Nana Akenten will take his spot, but that’s also one more guy gone from Nebraska’s inexperienced bench.

This Spartan team needs to heal up and I think this Nebraska squad is going to help that out.

Michigan State University 87 University of Nebraska 65