Michigan State Basketball: Staff score predictions for FGCU rematch

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 06: Tom Izzo the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans gives instructions to his team against the Kansas Jayhwaks during the State Farm Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 6, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 06: Tom Izzo the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans gives instructions to his team against the Kansas Jayhwaks during the State Farm Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on November 6, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball looks to rebound from a tough loss at the hands of Kansas against a strong FGCU team. Will the Spartans get it done?

It has been a difficult week for Michigan State athletics as the men’s basketball team lost to No. 1 Kansas this week after a failed comeback, then the men’s hockey team got swept on the road as they lost two close games to Arizona State — yes not only do they have a hockey team but Michigan State has not beaten the Sun Devils in anything this year. And finally, the football team’s questionable coaching decisions and poor offensive play accounted for a home loss against 10th-ranked Ohio State.

Enough about the doom and gloom of Spartan athletics, let’s discuss and predict today’s matchup against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles.

This Eagles squad is not the same team that many remember from their Sweet 16 run back in 2013 when they upset Georgetown as a No. 15 seed and beat San Diego State before falling to Florida. Nor is this year’s team as potentially good as the one from last season that was the regular season conference champions winning 23 games.

However, this Eagles team will not be a pushover, either. The last time these two teams played, Michigan State only won by one point, as seen here.

Florida Gulf Coast this season will depend deeply on their three transfers, Schadrac Casimir from Iona, Haanif Cheatham from Marquette and Troy Baxter Jr. from UNLV.

Casimir, a senior guard, is the Eagles’ leading scorer, averaging 17 points through two games. Senior guards Dinero Mercurius and Cheatham are both averaging 10 points entering this one. The Eagles’ top four scorers love to shoot the three and if they have any chance of beating the Spartans, it will have to be earned behind the 3-point line.

The Spartans are entering this game after fighting and clawing back from a horrible first-half performance against No. 1 Kansas that was plagued by turnovers and poor free throw shooting. However, the green and white responded in the second half, outscoring the Jayhawks 51-42.

Senior forward Kenny Goins surprised many by scoring 17 points and hitting three 3-pointers along with grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing three assists. Junior guard Joshua Langford had a team-high 18 points and fellow junior Cassius Winston had team-high 11 assists. The Spartans look to overpower Florida Gulf Coast down low in the post and on the offensive and defensive boards.

Here’s how to watch/listen to Sunday night’s game:

Matchup: No. 10 Michigan State (0-1) vs. Florida Gulf Coast (1-1)
Where: Breslin Center — East Lansing, Mich
When: 6:00 p.m. ET
TV/Streaming: Big Ten Network/BTN2Go
Radio: Detroit Area: WJR-AM (760 AM); Nationally: SiriusXM 195; Lansing Area: WJIM (1240 AM)

Will the Spartans get their first regular season win? See what our writers think.

Connor Muldowney: This is going to be one of those games that makes fans cringe for about a half and then the Spartans will pull away in the final 20 minutes. Like the Kansas game, Michigan State will struggle to put 40 complete minutes together, but it won’t matter as they’re just too strong for the Eagles. Though FGCU has a few talented transfers, like Kansas did, these guys aren’t quite on the same level. Michigan State wins big behind a monster game from Nick Ward.

Final Score: FGCU 61, Michigan State 81

Ryan Kay: This will be a high-scoring affair and the Eagles will hit their 3-point attempts early and only trail by four going into halftime. Joshua Langford will hold Florida Gulf Coast’s leading scorer Schadrac Casimir in check in the second half and Cassius Winston will be a distributor, having a team-high 14 assists this game. Also, watch for freshmen Marcus Bingham Jr. and Gabe Brown to get their first extended regular season action of the season. With top recruit, Vernon Carey Jr. in attendance, look for the Spartans to put on a high-flying offensive show tonight. Spartans win but not by 30.

Final Score: FGCU 79, Michigan State 95

Justin Thind: FGCU lost its head coach and five of its top six leading scorers from last year’s NIT-qualifying squad. While they did bring in some transfers that can immediately contribute alongside returning 3-point sharpshooter Dinero Mercurius, the Spartans should be able to handle FGCU fairly easily.

A matchup to keep an eye would be Nick Ward going up against Michigan transfer Ricky Doyle. He is a very capable rebounder and defender, standing at 6-10, 254 pounds. If Ward dominates here, this game should be a blowout. If not, it might be a little closer than ideal, but MSU should still win by 15-plus regardless.

FInal Score: FGCU 65, Michigan State 88

Next. MSU basketball: 10 bold predictions for 2018-19. dark

Stephen Robb: The big question for this game is can the Spartans fix their turnover problem? FGCU is a team that you want to put away early. They will need to shut senior guard Schadrac Casimir — he’s speedy and can be difficult to stop. Look for the Spartans to go to Nick Ward early and often. Spartans will win this game easily.

Final Score: FGCU 61, Michigan State 75