The Michigan State Spartans (7-2) hit the road once again following their pair of early season Big Ten games and with a ealry 2-0 record in conference play look to get back into the non-conference win column with a big Saturday noon tip on the road in Gainesville, Florida to face the Florida Gators.
The Gators come into this match-up with a 5-3 record and are coming off a home win against the West Virginia Mountaineers. Can the Gators pull off yet another upset of a top 10 team?
Three Things to Watch
One: Spartan Bigs are making an Impact
Can the Spartans continue their offensive output in the post. The Spartan bigs had an outstanding game in MSU’s 90-69 thrashing of the Iowa Hawkeyes in their last game. Nick Ward went for 26 points on 10 for 10 from the field, along with nine rebounds. Xavier Tillman joined in on the career setting fun as he was good for 14 points and eight rebounds. Most outstanding of all was the performance that senior forward Kenny Goins put on as he went for nearly a triple-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Michigan State will need to see more of these kinds of efforts in their coming match-up with the Gators.
Two: The Threes will come
Michigan State attempted a lot of three-pointers in the last few seasons, including in last seasons early exit from the NCAA tournament in their game with Syracuse. This season the Spartans haven’t quite been what we have seen in recent years when it comes to shooting the long ball. Cassius Winston turned into a real sharpshooter last season, and he continues to shoot it from deep when it is available. This season has shown something that hasn’t been seen in a while, MSU has a big inside the arc game and it is great to see. The threes will come, but for once the Spartans don’t just have to sit out their and go for the home run ball or live and it by the three.
Three: Another tough road test for the Spartan Freshman
Michigan State’s Basketball freshman class has seen a lot in their short careers to this point. From their first games in a Spartan uniform, in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis against Kansas, to Playing in Las Vegas, to a road game at hostile Louisville, to their first Big Ten games, and now a trip to face the Florida Gators. For Aaron’s Henry, Foster Loyer and company it has been a roller coaster of a first month for the Spartan Freshman. Aaron Henry leads the freshman in scoring with 44 points this season, Foster Loyer with 18 points and Marcus Bingham along with Gabe Brown each have 15 points on the season respectively. We can’t forget Thomas Kithier who has chipped in six points and a few rebounds as well. The Freshman have responded well in a vast amount of way so far will they be ready for the pressure of a road game in Gainesville against the Gators?
I think this is a good match-up for this ever resilient Spartan team, behind Nick Ward, Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston big things could be ahead for MSU. Winston and company come out with a tough win on the road in SEC country in this one. It should be a good one.