The Michigan State Spartans tip off against the Michigan Wolverines in just under an hour. Keith Appling, while wearing a shoulder brace, is still holding his own on the court for the Spartans. Freshman Gary Harris has proved to be professional, working hard with the team and scoring despite back spasms that have forced him to sit out parts of the last few games. Travis Trice is out due to complications with his concussion. With such a banged up crew, one has to wonder: Will the Green and White be able to bring it against the Wolverines tonight?
This season, the Wolverines have been on fire offensively. In fact, they are at the top of the Big Ten for offense this year. The Wolverines have three different players with more than 46 on made 3-point shots: Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardway Jr., and Trey Burke; each shoots at about 37% beyond the arc. It will be important for the Spartans to keep on them when they go behind that line.
Branden Dawson scored 20 points for the Spartans in the last game, and he’s been on top of things all season. He was 6 and 6 at the foul line. In true Spartans fashion, most of the points they scored were done in the second half when they came out of the locker rooms all pumped for action.
Appling is only 24 points short of being the 43rd player in Michigan State history to make 1,000 points in a single season. He’s the 29th such player to do so in only three seasons. Appling has a good shot of grabbing those points tonight if the Spartans can prevent possession turnovers during the game. He’s the 10th in the Big Ten for scoring and 5th in the Big Ten for assists.
It’s going to be extremely important that the guys take time tonight to line up their shots and grab the rebounds on the missed shots. The team was shooting .491 from the field and .833 from the foul line during Saturday’s game. They need to keep that up tonight.
Go Green! Go White!