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MSU-Indiana Open Thread

Minnesota vs. Michigan St.

I think we’ll see at least a couple of these today.

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Tuesday Links

Game Preview

8:00 Wednesday.  The Breslin Center. BTN.

The Citadel comes in at 5-5, but only three of those five wins are against Division 1 opponents.  The program does appear to be improving, though, as they posted a record of just 2-24 vs. Division 1 competition last year.  By beating UNC-Greensboro earlier this month, they’ve already matched the number of wins they posted in Southern Conference play last season, when they went 1-19 against conference opponents.

Head Coach Ed Conroy is in his third season with the program.  MSU beat the Bulldogs 73-41 in East Lansing two years ago.

All nine of the players in The Citadel’s* rotation last season return this year.  Seven of those players were freshman last season.  6’1″ sophomore guard Cameron Wells leads the way for the Bulldogs.  He currently leads the team in scoring (15.8 points/game), rebounding (6.6 per game), and assists (2.4 per game).  And he’s been pretty efficient, posting shooting percentages of .511/.400/.718.  Wells has taken 5 more shots per game than any other member of the team; he can expect a heavy dose of Travis Walton tomorrow night.

*Having to include the “The” every time you refer to this team is somewhat aggravating.

6’8″ senior forward/center Demetrius Nelson is averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting .648 from the field, after missing most of last season due to a foot injury.  Among The Citadel’s top seven players in terms of minutes played, Nelson (250 pounds) is the only player who weighs more than 215 pounds.  So MSU will almost certainly be able to take advantage in the post.

The tempo-free numbers would indicate that The Citadel will not represent much of a challenge for MSU.  Last year, they ranked dead last in the country in raw defensive efficiency, and that ranking has not improved much this year.  They’ve given up easy shots, particularly from 3-point range (opponent’s 3pt%=38.6%) and have failed to create turnovers (DefTO%=18.2%).

The Bulldogs do represent a challenge in terms of MSU showing that it can play efficiently at a slower tempo.  The Citadel ranks 338th in the nation in pace, playing at just under 60 possessions/game.  If MSU can’t impose its will in the half-court offense–particularly in light of our size advantage–I’ll be concerned.

Offensively, the closest thing The Citadel has to a strength is holding on to the ball.  They gave it up on 19.2% of possessions last season.  That figure is up slightly to 20.1% this season.

Consistent with a smaller team that plays at a slow pace, they take a lot of three-point shots (3FGA/FGA=40.6%).  But they haven’t made many of those attempts (3FG%=29.6%).  They did shoot 38.1% from beyond the arc last season, though, so the potential is there for the Bulldogs to knock down a few 3-pointers to keep the game close.

Sagarin predicts a Spartan victory by 27 points in this one.  This game won’t be a barn-burner like the Alcorn State game was, but it should be a solid MSU win nonetheless.

Update: G0EL Pete also does us a service by providing some historical background regarding THE Citadel.

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Jamil Wilson is down to MSU, Oregon, and Texas.  Marquette is out of the picture.  Wilson says he didn’t like them “playing head games” with him.

Meanwhile, his head coach is hoping he’ll enjoy playing basketball more this season:

“But Jamil needs to just relax sometimes and not get too worked up over things. Sometimes people don’t realize he just turned 18 last Friday. He’s such a high-profile player. I have to make sure he gets to be a kid, and that basketball is fun, so that we are able to use his talents to our benefit as a team.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Spartan fans.  Let’s have some Terrapin for dinner.

GO GREEN!

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Wednesday links

Old Spice Classic preview is here.

Wednesday links:

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Goran Suton Update

Tom Izzo made an appearance on WDFN yesterday.  His comments indicate that (1) Suton probably won’t need arthroscopic surgery on his knee but (2) he expects to be without Suton for at least 90% of the Old Spice Classic–if not all of it.  Izzo indicates the situation simply requires rest (in which case I’d question whether Suton should play even a few minutes this weekend).

I’m hopeful that our back-up big men bring enough to the table for MSU to still have success in Orlando.  After watching most of the first half of the North Carolina-Oregon game last night, though, I’m fairly concerned about how we’re going to deal with UNC’s rebounding ability next Wednesday night with Suton either out or severely limited.

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A few basketball links:

And a few football links:

Game time for MSU is noon on the BTN.  Eastern comes in at 1-0, after thrashing Division 1-AA Indiana State 52-0 last week.  Last season, Eastern finished 4-8.   The highlight of their season was an upset of eventual MAC champions Central Michigan.  The early Sagarin ratings predict a 23.5-point win for our Spartans.

Mini-Coffee Talk: What scares you more at this point?  A Javon Ringer injury or a Brian Hoyer injury?

Feel free to post any other comments about tomorrow’s game (before or after) below.

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