2. Sell out to defend Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson
Now to the serious stuff.
Over the course of the 2022-23 season, USC’s Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson have combined to shoot 43 percent of the team’s total shots and a whopping 57 percent of their total 3-pointers. My matchups are Jaden Akins on Ellis all day (Akins with the one-inch advantage height-wise and five pounds weight-wise) but Tyson Walker and AJ Hoggard are more than capable when the teams needs fresh legs, and Malik Hall (depending on how his foot and back feel) on Peterson.
Tom Izzo had some comments that he wants to do well and I think a strong defensive showing would go a long way for the Spartans given how lethal the other guys can be shooting the ball. I also know that mentally, it must have been a tough week for Malik with his father’s health problems (per Malik’s mother’s Twitter). Malik’s dad has been released and can travel to Columbus.
Ellis is going to take shots. Ellis is going to make shots. Ellis is going to shoot it from 26 feet and swish it and for a minute, it’s going to seem like he is making everything. But Akins is hands down MSU’s best guard defender. Peterson is armed with a similar 3-point range, a high 2-point make percentage, a bad back, and a punchable face on levels we haven’t seen since Mo Wagner. The bad back is the main key here as in the month of March, he is only averaging about 7.5 points per game.
Outside of these two, no one is shooting above 30 percent (Kobe Johnson is at 35 percent but is averaging only one made 3-pointer per game), with no strong inside presence, USC will rely heavily on these two shooters and I think MSU has the defensive horses to reel them in.