3 bold predictions for Michigan State basketball's BTT opener vs. Minnesota

Michigan State v Purdue
Michigan State v Purdue / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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For the third time this season, Michigan State basketball will get a crack at Minnesota. Each of the first two meetings were about as tight as could be and this one brings a ton of pressure for the Spartans.

In fact, Thursday's Big Ten Tournament matchup against the Gophers will have a potential NCAA Tournament berth on the line as the Spartans likely need to win in order to solidify a spot.

For Minnesota, on the other hand, it's just trying to build some momentum for next season and a potential NIT run after an improved 2023-24 season under Ben Johnson. The Gophers will be playing with nothing to lose on essentially a home court.

Let's get bold ahead of Thursday's big game.

3. The Spartans shut Cam Christie down

The last time Michigan State met up with Minnesota, Cam Christie was a problem. The younger brother of former Spartan Max Christie has been one of the Big Ten's top freshmen this season and he torched Michigan State for 19 points on 5-of-7 makes from 3-point range back on Feb. 6. He was the difference in the Gophers' 59-56 win.

On Jan. 18, Michigan State held him in check with just eight points on 3-of-5 shooting as he fouled out in just 16 minutes of action.

I think we'll see more of that second performance on Thursday.

Tom Izzo is sick of getting burned by 3-point shooters and the defense will step up on Christie and hold him in check. He'll still make a couple of ridiculous threes, but he's going to be held under 10 points (season average is 11.3) and he'll shoot well under 50 percent from the field.