Michigan State Opens Big Ten Play on Sunday, Hosts Nebraska
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
Michigan State’s men’s basketball teams opens up Big Ten Conference play on Sunday, Dec. 3, hosting Nebraska. Tipoff at the Breslin Center is slated for 4:30 p.m.
The game will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), with Aaron Goldsmith calling the play-by-play and Bill Raftery serving as the color analyst. The Spartan Sports Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and on the web at SpartanSportsNetwork.com, with Will Tieman handling the play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as the color analyst.
Michigan State, ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls, enters Sunday’s game with a 6-1 overall record following an 81-63 win over No. 5 Notre Dame at home on Thursday. It was the fifth-straight win for the Spartans. Sophomore guards Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston scored 17 points apiece to lead four players in double figures. .Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges added 14 points, six rebounds and four assists and sophomore forward Nick Ward added 12 points and five rebounds.
Michigan State has beaten a pair of Top-10 teams by 18 points in the last week – No. 9 North Carolina (63-45) and No. 5 Notre Dame (81-63). It marks the sixth and seventh time the Spartans have beaten a Top 10 team by 18 or more points during the Tom Izzo era (1/21/98 vs. No. 10 Iowa; 2/5/2000 vs. UConn; 3/23/2003 vs. No. 10 Florida; 3/11/2011 vs. Purdue, 2/12/2013 vs. Michigan). The wins over UNC and Notre Dame marked the first time Izzo defeated back-to-back Top-10 opponents in the regular season in his 23-year career. MSU’s 18-point victory over No. 5 Notre Dame was its largest over a Top 5 team since Feb. 12, 2013 (75-52 vs. No. 4 Michigan). The victory was also the first for the Spartans over a Top 5 opponent since Nov. 17, 2015 vs. No. 4 Kansas (79-73).
Michigan State has won five-straight games by 20.0 points per game, led in large part by its defense and rebounding. During the team’s last four games, MSU is allowing only 54.0 points per game. Opponents during the last five games are only shooting 34.0 percent from the floor. Overall this season, the Spartans are limiting opponents to 35.1 percent shooting from the field. MSU ranks No. 4 nationally in field goal percentage defense. The Spartans have a +14.8 rebound advantage in the last five games and have only been out-rebounded once this season. MSU ranks No. 8 in the country in rebound margin (+12.1 overall).
Michigan State’s sophomore class – Miles Bridges, Joshua Langford, Cassius Winston and Nick Ward – have helped to lead the way for the Spartans. Through seven games, that quartet has accounted for 66.1 percent of the team’s scoring (374 of 566 points), 41.4 percent of its rebounds (122 of 295) and 57.1 percent of the team’s assists (76 of 133).
Michigan State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 14-9. MSU has won six of nine meetings as Big Ten foes, including winning both games last season. Overall, the Spartans are 7-3 in East Lansing, and 5-3 at the Breslin Center. Tom Izzo holds a 6-3 series advantage against the Cornhuskers and a 4-3 record against Tim Miles. The teams met six times between 1988 and 1994, but did not meet again until the 2011-12 season.
Nebraska enters Sunday’s Big Ten Conference opener with a 6-2 overall record. The Huskers have won three-straight games, most recently coming off a 71-62 win at home against Boston College in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. After opening the season with a pair of wins, Nebraska lost at St. John’s (79-56) and to UCF (66-59). Junior guard James Palmer, a MIami transfer, leads the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game. He is one of four players scoring in double figures, joined by junior guard Glynn Watson Jr., who is scoring 13.8 points and leads the team with 3.9 assists per game. Junior forward Isaac Copeland, a Georgetown transfer, is third on the team with 13.0 points and leads the team with 6.6 rebounds and Anton Gill, a Louisville transfer, is fourth with 11.0 points per game.
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