Michigan State Preview
Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Time: 6 p.m. CST/7 EST
Television: Big Ten Network
Location: The Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State Record: 12-2 (3-0, B1G)
Head Coach: Tom Izzo (655-256, 27th year all in East Lansing)
Sunday evening, the Nebraska men’s basketball program flirted with upsetting No. 13 Ohio State at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. This evening, Fred Hoiberg’s club goes on the road hoping to finish what it started three days earlier by knocking off Tom Izzo’s No. 10 Michigan State Spartans.
When Izzo, who owns a 27-year mark of 655-256 in East Lansing, and the Spartans take the floor at the Breslin Center Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. CST/7 p.m. EST, Michigan State will be sitting atop the Big Ten standings with an overall record of 12-2 and a 3-0 mark in the Big Ten. Nebraska, meanwhile, holds the bottom spot in the standings at 6-8 and 0-3.
Although Nebraska has dropped six of its last seven contests, the overtime loss to Ohio State does give Husker Nation hope of an upset. Nebraska led the Buckeyes 72-67 with 36-seconds left in regulation before moving into the extra frame, and falling 87-79.
Before Nebraska’s tight battle with the Buckeyes, the Cornhuskers also suffered single-digit losses to Western Illinois (75-74), Creighton (77-69), North Carolina State (104-100) in four overtimes in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Kansas State (67-58).
Izzo’s club has won seven contests in a row by an average score of 79-68. Michigan State hasn’t lost since dropping a 75-58 decision to top-ranked Baylor in the Bahamas on Nov. 26. Michigan State’s only other loss was an 87-74 setback to No. 6 Kansas in New York Nov. 9.
Michigan State owns non-conference wins over Connecticut, Louisville and Loyola (Ill.). Izzo is the proud owner of five 30-win seasons, a 71.9-percent winning percentage and eight Final Four appearances, all at Michigan State.
The Spartans have won 20 of the 29 contests they’ve played against the Big Red, dating back to 1920. Izzo is 12-3 against the Cornhuskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. The Huskers won 72-71 in East Lansing in 2016 while the Spartans took last year’s contest 66-56.
Led by Gabe Brown’s 14.6 points a game, the Spartans utilize seven players that score six points or more a contest. Brown, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, sits fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (39.8-percent) and is the second best free throw shooter at 87.5-percent. He has also been credited with 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.4 blocked shots an outing.
Marcus Bingham, Jr is the only other Spartan that scores in double figures with a stat line of 11.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 3.0 blocked shots. The 7-0 senior forward, sits seventh in the B1G in rebounding and second in swatted balls. Malik Hall (6-8, Jr., Forward) and Max Christie (6-6, Freshman, Guard) score 9.7 and 9.5 points per game respectively while Joey Hauser (6-9, Senior, Forward) adds 7.2 points to the Spartan cause.
A.J. Hoggard (6-4, Sophomore, Guard) scores 6.8 points an outing and dishes out 4.5 assists, fourth best in the Big Ten. Tyson Walker (6-0, Junior, Guard) scores 6.5 points a game and contributes more than five assists a night, third best in the B1G. Walker also sits tenth in the conference with 1.43 steals per contest.
The Spartans are holding opponents under 39-percent field goal shooting (3rd, B1G) in 2021-22 and out rebound their opposition by more than eight (4th, B1G) this winter. Michigan State also sits in the Top 10 in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (38.9-percent, 4th), 3-point field goal defense (28.6-percent, 3rd), offensive rebounds (11.4, 5th), defensive rebounds (29.6, 3rd), blocked shots (6.43, 1st), assists (16.86, 5th) and attendance (14,797, 5th).
Hoiberg’s club is led in scoring by Bryce McGowens’ (6-7, Guard) 15.8 points per game. The freshman also adds 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocked shots. McGowens’ 81.5-percent free throw shooting ranks eighth in the Big Ten conference as does his 33.6 minutes per outing.
Alonzo Verge, Jr. (6-3, Senior, Guard) averages 15.6 points a contest, 5.5 boards and a league leading 5.8 assists a game while Derrick Walker adds 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. The 6-9 junior forward’s 1.3 blocked shots ranks seventh in the conference. Keisei Tominaga (6-2, Sophomore, Guard) and C.J. Wilcher (6-5, Freshman, Guard) add 8.4 and 7.8 points an outing respectively while Kobe Webster (6-0, Senior, Guard) scores 6.4 points on average.
Lat Mayan (6-9, Junior, Forward), Eduardo Andre (6-11, Freshman, Forward) and Keon Edwards (6-7, Freshman, Guard) have all played in 11 or more contests this year and average 4.8, 3.3 and 0.6 points respectively. As a team, Nebraska ranks fourth in the Big Ten in turnover margin (3.64), first in steals (8.14) and second in attendance (15,240).
Series History: Michigan State leads, 20-9
Last Matchup: Michigan State 66, Nebraska 56 (Feb. 6, 2021)
Radio: Husker Radio Network, including KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KXSP (590 AM) in Omaha and KRVN (880 AM) in Lexington. The B1G battle will also be available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app.
Huskers Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Kent Pavelka
Analyst: Jake Muhleisen
TV/Online: Wednesday’s game will be televised on the B1G Network. It is also available on the web, mobile devices and connected TVs via the Fox Sports app.
Play-by-Play: Brandon Gaudin
Analyst: Robbie Hummel