Michigan State basketball is traveling to the Bahamas and participating in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday. These Spartans will be up against some steep competition in this tournament and have their hands full.
They kick off the tournament when they take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in the first game on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at noon. The Ramblers are an experienced team and have some great talent.
Ryan Schwieger and Braden Norris and Co. will look to give Michigan State a run for their money in this one. These Ramblers know how to play and know what it’s like to play in big tournaments. Many of these players have been to the tournament and won a couple of games in the tournament.
The Ramblers are averaging 91 points per game and shooting the deep ball at a staggering 45 percent. They are also big on the boards averaging nearly 40 rebounds per game. The Ramblers are an active bunch and Michigan State will have its hands full when the Spartans try to take down the Ramblers.
If the Spartans can come out on top against the Ramblers they will take on the winner of the Auburn vs. UConn game. Both of these teams are ranked at No. 19 and No. 21, respectively. Auburn has been making its way up the national basketball ladder over the last few years and is a well-balanced team. UConn is finally coming back into prominence and have a couple of star players who can really play.
If the Spartans can get a victory over one of these ranked teams they will be in the championship game. this will square them up against the winner of the Syracuse/VCU vs. Baylor/Arizona St.
Marcus Bingham Jr. and company will have their hands full in this tournament.
The Battle 4 Atlantis will give these Spartans a ton of experience and help them grow even more before Big Ten play starts.
Bingham has been a monster this year He’s averaging 12 points to go along with eight rebounds and 3.5 blocks. He has been a beast on the defensive end and will continue to prove doubters wrong that he can be a Big Ten great big. The Spartans will need him to keep up this intensity and energy if these Spartans want to make it to the championship game.
Turnovers have also been a huge issue with this team early on but the fans saw a glimmer of hope in their last game against Eastern Michigan. They are averaging 14 turnovers a game but if this Spartan team can keep those turnovers to a minimum, we all see how deadly the Spartans can be. Get out and run in transition but know where you are on the court and don’t telegraph your passes for hours before you make the pass.
The perimeter has also hurt the Spartans early on. They cannot find their footing out on their perimeter. They are only shooting 29 percent from deep with their best shooter, Gabe Brown, only shooting 31 percent. This team will need to find its stride from distance if they want to make a run in this tournament. They can also take the open shots but do not force these deep looks. Instead get the ball in the hands of your most efficient scorer, Bingham, and let him get into a rhythm.
The Spartans have already grown so much since last year’s disappointing season. They have grown even in the first four games of the season. This tournament will show how much the Spartans can compete with the big teams this season.