November 18, 2012; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans mascot Sparty performs prior to a game at Jack Breslin Students Events Center against the Texas Southern Tigers. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State vs. Michigan Preview: The Defense

When it comes to defense, Michigan State has been on top all season. Adreian Payne ranks 6th in Michigan State history for career blocks (95). In the game against Kansas, Payne had 4 blocks, equaling his career high during a single game. He will be a force to be reckoned with for the Michigan Wolverines. Payne’s kind of defense will be necessary when battling this top offensive team.

In the game against Purdue on Saturday, the Boilermakers wound up in the bonus during the first half of the game. With a team that shoots .702 at the  line, it will be important for the Spartans to defend the field goals without fouling the other team. By giving the Wolverines too many opportunities for free throws, the Spartans can lose opportunities to steal the ball and block shots.

MSU ranks number 15 in the nation for defense, so I’m sure Tom Izzo will be talking to the guys beforehand. Freshmen Denzel Valentine and Gary Harris will need to be reigned in when they are blocking. They have been successful this season in allowing opposing teams to only shoot .390 from the field, as evidenced in the game against Minnesota where  there were two high-ranking 3-point shooters on the court.

Michigan is not ranked as highly for their defense. In fact, the team is ranked 101 and 116 for three-point defense and field goal defense, respectively. If Michigan State can take the opportunities they find, they can get past the Wolverines. They will need to stay on Trey Burke, the leading scorer for the Wolverines.

Tags: Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines

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