Michigan State Basketball: 3 bold predictions vs. Northwestern in Big Ten opener

Gabe Brown and Foster Loyer, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gabe Brown and Foster Loyer, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball kicks off Big Ten play with a road game against Northwestern. The defense will be tested on Sunday night.

Over the past couple of years, the Big Ten has started conference play with a couple of games in early-December but in this weird, COVID-19-affected season, Michigan State will play its first league game a little later than normal and there will be no more non-conference games to split up the schedule.

Michigan State is 6-0 heading into Sunday’s game against Northwestern in Evanston and with no fans this season, road games won’t be quite as daunting.

Still, the Wildcats have been somewhat surprising so far this season, getting off to a 3-1 start with a lone loss to Pitt. That’s not the surprising part, though. It’s the fact that the Wildcats have been explosive offensively this year, averaging over 90 points per game. This will be a tough matchup for a struggling MSU defense with potential.

Will the Spartans open Big Ten play on the right foot?

3. MSU wins the rebounding battle by double-digits

Northwestern has not only been surprising in terms of scoring this season (granted, against mostly lesser opponents), but the Wildcats also average nearly 50 rebounds per game.

On the other hand, rebounding has been something that Tom Izzo has been critical of this year and his team has struggled in that area on multiple occasions. That makes this matchup even more intriguing. With an entire week of preparation and war drills in practice, how will the Spartans look on the glass?

I’m going to say they will look refreshed and motivated to dominate the glass like they’re capable of doing.

Michigan State will come out, flex their muscle and win the battle of the boards by at least 10, even putting up some big numbers on the offensive glass.