Thursday, December 2, 2021

Preview: MSU men's basketball set for first true road test Wednesday at Butler

November 17, 2021
<p>Senior forward Gabe Brown shoots the ball in the Spartans&#x27; match against the Western Michigan Broncos at the Breslin Center on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. </p>

Senior forward Gabe Brown shoots the ball in the Spartans' match against the Western Michigan Broncos at the Breslin Center on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State got its feet back under them last Friday with a convincing 44-point victory over Western Michigan. It was the Spartans’ first win of the 2021-22 season after losing to No. 3 Kansas in the opening game of the year.

The Spartans were led by its two seniors, forward Gabe Brown and center Marcus Bingham Jr., who combined for 29 points in the victory over the Broncos. Sophomore point guard A.J. Hoggard had another solid performance off the bench for seven points and seven assists as the team’s six-man. 

MSU stands at 1-1 after the first week of the season with the win and now faces its first true road game of the season. The Spartans are traveling by bus down I-69 to Indianapolis to take on Butler as a part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Gavitt Tipoff Games is an annual early-season series between the Big Ten and Big East that’s been played since 2015. 

Butler stands undefeated at 3-0 after comfortably winning non-conference games against lower competition. Now, the Bulldogs welcome the Spartans who have been battle-tested in a big matchup already this season in the Champions Classic. 

The game will take place in the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse, a century-old gymnasium in Indianapolis that serves as the center for Hoosier basketball and is the home of Butler basketball.

“I've been blessed to be at a lot of great places and this is historic in a lot of ways but it's just another game,” Michigan State men's basketball Head Coach Tom Izzo said. “I don't get to play in it, I just get to be there but I'm excited about going down there.”

Butler presents many of the same challenges that Kansas did for Michigan State. Seven players on the roster have returned this year as either seniors or graduate students. The Bulldogs have a stable of players with a copious amount of experience to couple with a very talented freshman class.

Through three games, Butler is led by a three-headed scoring monster in the backcourt. Sophomore Chuck Harris, freshman Jayden Taylor and graduate guard Jair Bolden are the three leading scorers for the Bulldogs, all averaging over 13 points per game. Izzo said that Butler will be a challenge and praised how the team has been constructed. 

“Butler's got a lot of people back,” Izzo said. “He (Butler Head Coach LaVall Jordan) does a good job of coaching 'em. ... So we got our work cut out for us.”

The matchup between Michigan State and Butler will tip-off at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.


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