The Michigan State men's basketball team is returning home to the Breslin Center for the first time in a month tonight and looking to shuck their four-game losing streak against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8, 0-5 Big Ten), as they did Jan. 2.
The last time the teams met, MSU was 1-3 in conference play, 7-3 overall and ranked No. 17 in the AP Top 25. Now MSU sits just above Nebraska at 13th in the Big Ten conference with an 8-7 overall record that is being weighed down by the Spartans' 2-7 Big Ten record.
"There's no denying that it's has been a tough stretch for us, but I thought our effort in the last two games has improved," Head Coach Tom Izzo said. "I thought our play has improved. Our shooting has gotten better but not markedly better, and I think that'll be the last step that could be the difference in winning some of these games and not."
The Spartans lead in the all-time series against Nebraska 19-9 and the Cornhuskers are 3-11 against MSU since joining the conference. The Spartans have won the last seven meetings, and Nebraska has only won twice in history at the Breslin Center.
Nebraska is coming into East Lansing tonight off a prolonged absence of 27 days. They played their last game against Indiana on Jan. 10, where they lost 84-76. They were on pause due to positive COVID-19 cases and resumed practice at the start of the week.
Who to watch for Nebraska
Cornhuskers, guard Trey McGowens is one of the major leaders of the team and has scored in double figures in four of the last five games.
He is also shooting a career-best of 42.4% from the three-point range, which ranks 17th among qualified players in the Big Ten.
McGowens and Teddy Allen are one of the best one-two punches in the Big Ten. Allen is the Huskers leading scorer and a top-5 scorer in the conference — putting up six of Nebraska's eight 20-point performances. He averages 18.4 points per game, which tops Nebraska alumnus Terran Petteway's record of 18.1 that he set during the 2013-14 season for the highest scoring average, if he remains on pace, in a single season.
Senior forward Trevor Lakes is entering tonight's game only one point away from reaching 1,000 points in his college career too.
On the other side, MSU is still looking for its Batman.
At times, all eyes are on Aaron Henry, who racked up 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help two other Spartans into double figures against No. 8 Iowa on Feb. 1.
The junior forward leads the green and white in scoring at 13.9 points a game and in assists at 3.5 per game. He also leads MSU in blocked shots with 1.4 per game and steals, averaging 1.5 per contest.
Marquette transfer and junior forward Joey Hauser has been an impact performer for his second season with the program — albeit his first playing in actual games. He averages 11.2 points per game on 49% shooting and snags a team-high of 7.5 rebounds per game.
Izzo said earlier this week that he is unsure if fans will see junior forward Gabe Brown tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the game can be found on the Big Ten Network.
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