Iowa at Michigan State - Thoughts and Game Prediction

Iowa at Michigan State - Thoughts and Game Prediction

Basketball

Iowa at Michigan State - Thoughts and Game Prediction

Michigan State (6-2, 1-0) squares off with the Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 0-1) at the Breslin Center on Monday night in another early season Big Ten matchup. What are the keys?  What’s going to happen?

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On Friday night at Rutgers, Michigan State turned the ball over a mere seven times.

This came after the Spartans committed 41 turnovers over the two previously played games, a win over Texas in the Las Vegas Invitational Championship and the road loss in overtime to Louisville.

The Spartans committed 24 turnovers against Texas and 17 at Louisville.

While there were missed free throws and missed opportunities to convert from close range, the turnovers were what made Tom Izzo dissatisfied.

After the 78-67 win at Piscataway, Izzo was almost giddy in the way he lauded his team’s effort and the way they handled an impressively rough environment.

Mostly, though, Izzo was happy with the way his team took care of the basketball.

And now, as the Spartans enter the final week of what has been a very challenging early-season stretch, Izzo is hoping his team can protect the ball appropriately so that Michigan State can get a big win over Iowa at home and get off to a 2-0 start in the Big Ten.

GOOD START FOR HAWKEYES

Iowa has gotten off to its own strong start and was 6-0 up until its 72-66 home loss to Wisconsin on Friday.

The Hawkeyes might come into East Lansing with a sense of intensity unfamiliar to a December 3rd matchup – Iowa would rather not get off to an 0-2 start in conference play.

Iowa is led by 6’9″ forward Tyler Cook who has averaged 15.4 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.

The Hawkeyes are well balanced as there are three other starters who are scoring in double figures through their first seven games.

But if this Michigan State team is set on competing for – and winning – the Big Ten Championship, this is, simply put, a game that should be won.

NICK WARD 

If Nick Ward can continue to show the focus, the discipline on defense in matchup up and controlling Cook, and the ability to create low post scoring opportunities the way he has so far this season, that would go a long way towards making this a successful night for Michigan State.

PROTECT THE BASKETBALL

But it’s fair to say that the key to victory tonight in East Lansing – in front of what should prove to be a raucous crowd – will be the degree to which Cassius Winston, Foster Loyer, and Joshua Langford can take care of the ball and limit turnovers.

Matt McQuaid will likely sit out once again due to that thigh bruise suffered against Texas – and, as we said last week, resting McQuaid so that he can get back to full strength is as important as anything else right now since the Spartans will need a healthy McQuaid once the real grind of the Big Ten season arrives.

ASSIGNMENTS

Winston – lead the offense with precision and care, limit turnovers, create scoring opportunities for yourself.

Langford – from the opening tip, play like your ability to be recognized as an All American is at stake on every possession.

Ward – play tough, disciplined low post defense on Cook and your offense will benefit as a result.

Tillman, Aherns, Loyer, Henry, Goins, Bingham – continue to do the little things (and the big things like grabbing 17 rebounds, Goins).

GAME PREDICTION

IOWA – 65

MICHIGAN STATE – 73

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