The sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans (16-2,7-0) host the red hot #19 Maryland Terrapins (16-3,7-1) on Monday night in a Big Ten showdown. The Spartans return home for the first time in two games and will be in for a tough game as they will once again hit the road following this game. This should be a highly contested game as both teams are playing at a high level right now. Maryland is coming off a road win at Ohio State and has won seven straight games since their last loss against Seton Hall. Don’t count out the Spartans as Cassius Winston and company are playing at a high level and have won 11 straight games and will look to make it 12 on Monday night.
What: #19 Maryland Terrapins (16-3, 7-1) at #6 Michigan State Spartans (16-2,7-0)
When: Monday, January 21st, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Breslin Center, Michigan State University
Keys to success for the Spartans
The Spartans have been very impressive all season and especially thus far in the Big Ten on their way to a 7-0 start, that mark gets put on the line in their hardest test yet, with the #19 Terps in town. But with how MSU has been able to play at a high level without two major players has been unimaginative. Kyle Ahrens and Joshua Langford not being in the line-up has been a major factor in every game they have missed, but the Spartans have played next man up and the Spartans young talent are growing into their own in their increased roles.
Gabe Brown and Aaron Henry have been very important pieces for MSU in Langford and Ahrens absence and have really shown how talented they are. Whether it’s a Brown three-pointer or a Henry explosive defensive play, the pair of freshman are meshing well with the likes of Winston, Ward, Goins and the rest of this gritty Spartan squad.
Cassius Winston has been outstanding and after his most recent performance in the win at Nebraska, Winston looks well on his way to big honors in the Big Ten. Winston joined the 1,000 point club in that game along with posting a career-high 29 points.
Behind Winston and Nick Ward this team is exactly where it needs to be, and when Ahrens and Langford return the team could be even stronger. Another test, this time at home are the Spartans up for it?
A look at the Terrapins
The Terrapins have won their last seven games, including their last game at Ohio State in a 75-61 win. The Terrapins have three losses on the season two in the nonconference against Seton Hall and Virginia while picking up an early Big Ten loss against the Purdue Boilermakers in December.
Anthony Cowan Jr a junior guard leads the Terrapins averaging 17.9 points per game while also pitching in four rebounds and nearly five assists per game this season. Cowan posted 20 points in the win over the Buckeyes. Sophomore forward Bruno Fernando is averaging a double-double on the season with 14.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. Freshman Jalen Smith adds 12 points per game and is yet another valuable rebounder with seven rebounds per game.
Maryland is averaging 76.7 points per game which is good for fifth in the Big Ten while allowing 65.5 points per game. This should be a battle in the post as Maryland is second in the Big Ten in rebounding this season, which only trails their opponent the Spartans this season. The Terps shoot around 48 percent from the field per game this season. Can the Terps get another big win on the road?
This one will come down to who can control the glass, as both teams are top two in the Big Ten in rebounding, and the two major spots to keep an eye on in this game is the battles between Nick Ward and Bruno Fernando and the Cassius Winston vs Anthony Cowan Jr when it comes to scoring, as most likely Matt McQuaid will see a lot of the defensive duties against Cowan when the Terrapins have the ball.
This will be another tight battle between the teams as most have been when these teams meet. It will be a full battle for 40 minutes, and the crowd and environment will be full of energy. Can the Terps pull the big upset? Will Michigan State sperate itself from the field?
Look for Cassius Winston to lead the Spartans to a win in this one. A double-double from Nick Ward wouldn’t hurt once again, would it?