Monday, January 18, 2021

Preview: MSU men's basketball to host Notre Dame

November 28, 2020
<p>Junior forward Aaron Henry (0) moves to shoot the ball during the game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 25, 2020, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Eagles, 83-67.</p>

Junior forward Aaron Henry (0) moves to shoot the ball during the game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 25, 2020, at the Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Eagles, 83-67.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Following a victory in their home opener against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, No. 13 Michigan State men's basketball (1-0) will host Notre Dame (0-0) on Saturday with an 8 p.m. start.

The two teams have met just twice (once in 2014 and once in 2017) since their matchup in the 1979 NCAA tournament regional finals, a competition that MSU won.

MSU leads the series 60-37 all time against the Fighting Irish; however, in an unusual fashion, Notre Dame leads in matchups at the Breslin Center 25-23.

The Spartans proved how deep their roster can be in their opening game Wednesday. All 15 athletes saw at least two minutes of playing time in the 83-67 victory.

Head Coach Tom Izzo, after keeping his front runners for the starting five fairly quiet, went with Foster Loyer at the point. Loyer proved he worked for the spot and improved during the off season, finishing with a career high 20 points and shooting 6-for-10 overall.

Sophomore guard Rocket Watts, the contender for this position, is overcoming a bruised knee, meaning Loyer might see that starting spot again come Saturday.

Junior forward Aaron Henry played a mature game as well. He racked up just six points but paired that with four rebounds and seven assists, showing he could be the standout that many think he needs to be for the Spartans this season.

The Spartans will face a tougher challenge in Notre Dame's defense. Graduate student Juwan Durham was named the 2020 Notre Dame defensive player of the year, blocking 66 shots and grabbing 147 rebounds last season.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be aired on Big Ten Network.

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