Michigan State basketball takes on Kansas in their second game of the 2012-2013 season. Coming off their disappointing opening loss to Connecticut, the Spartans will look to rebound. The game is at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, so the Jayhawks essentially have home court advantage. Expect this game to put the Spartans to the test, as they should be weary from their long journey back from Germany.
If the Spartans want a chance to win, Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne must play better. Kansas has their own stellar big in Jeff Whitey, and Nix and Payne need to rise to the occasion. If Whitey controls the paint the Spartans won’t have a shot. Also, Travis Trice is out with a concussion so expect Denzel Valentine to get more minutes. Losing Trice hurts, as he is the purest point guard on the squad. Valentine will be expected to give the team quality minutes and fill the hole caused by Trice’s absence. Keith Appling gets no break, as
he is matched up against Elijah Johnson. Johnson is a point guard much in the same vein as Napier; he looks for his shot first. Appling combined with Trice had trouble reining in Napier. With Trice out, expect Appling to guard Johnson most of the game. If he can limit or shut down Johnson, the Spartans chances of winning increase greatly. Lastly, expect Gary Harris to play well. Though he was off on Friday Night, Harris looked confident and willing to be aggressive. He missed some open shots and if he gets those tonight expect him to knock them down.
The Spartans have had a couple days of travel. As much as Izzo believes fatigue won’t be a factor, it will be. With the Jayhawks basically having a home crowd behind them, this game will be difficult for the Spartans. Expect the Spartans to come out and try to prove Friday night was a fluke, but in the end to fall short to a talented Kansas team.
Prediction: Kansas 72, Michigan State 64