Jan 27 2013, Bloomington, USA; Michigan State Spartans coach Tom Izzo talks to his team during a game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall. Indiana defeats Michigan State 75-70. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing MSU Spartans vs. Illinois: 5 Keys to the Game

If the MSU Spartans are to win against the Illinois Illini, they are going to have to kick up their offense and ensure they don’t turn the ball over too much. Here are five keys to today’s match up between the Spartans and the Fighting Illini.

1. Adreian Payne’s Fire Streak. It’s no joke that Payne has been on fire for the last several games. It’s exciting to see him really blossom and bring his A-Game to the field. If Payne can keep up his high-scoring trend while continuing to rock the defense, he could rack up some points that will really help the Spartans kill it in this game.

2. Brandon Dawson’s Continued Recovery. Dawson just keeps getting better and better this season as he relearns his body post ACL injury. The Spartan hasn’t missed a single practice – and you can tell he really wants this team to win. He plays with passion every time he hits the court. In the last seven games, Dawson has scored an average of 12.6 points.

3. Preventing Turnovers. The Spartans will need to get their turnover average under control in this game. If the Illini get the ball, they will be likely to score – and this team is particularly skilled at hitting the triples. By keeping the ball when it’s in their possession, the Spartans can increase their potential to score and keep the ball out of the hands of Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson.

4. Blocking Paul and RichardsonIt will be absolutely vital to keep on these two high-scorers. By keeping them from scoring, stealing the ball, and moving it back down to their side, the Spartans will have a good fighting chance.

5. Getting the Ball to Gary Harris, Derrick Nix, and Payne. In order to get the big points, the guys will have to get the ball into the hands of their high scorers. It will be absolutely important as the Spartans have had several very close games recently. By ensuring the guys most likely to score have the ability to sink the buckets, Michigan State will have a good shot at winning this game.

Tags: Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini Michigan State Spartans

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