Prediction: MSU should roll Northwestern on the road
State News basketball reporters Zach Smith and Matt Sheehan offer their predictions for tonight’s MSU-Northwestern game.
One of the best teams in the country against one of the worst teams in the country sounds like it would be a boring game, and this won’t fail to disappoint.
Northwestern lost three of its first four Big Ten games by huge margins, then came back and beat a ranked team by 6.
The only player MSU really needs to worry about is guard Drew Crawford, who has started every game for Northwestern and averages more than 15 points per game.
But by far the biggest mismatch in the game will be the battle between senior guard Keith Appling and Wildcat guard Dave Sobolewski, who leads the team with 51 assists on the year.
But statistically speaking Northwestern is one of the worst shooting teams in the country, and I don’t expect it to get any better against the Spartans.
MSU will most likely be without the services of senior forward Adreian Payne and junior forward Branden Dawson, but that won’t stop the Spartans from dominating the hapless Wildcats.
I see this being a double digit game the whole way, with the Spartans winning by as much as 20 points.
Appling and sophomore guard Gary Harris will scorch the Wildcat defense, while sophomores Matt Costello and Denzel Valentine will hold them down on the defensive end.
MSU: 81 Northwestern: 62
I’ve spent the last dozen hours or so thinking of scenarios where Northwestern can beat No. 4 MSU, and I’ve finally came up with my conclusion — they can’t.
Sure, over the weekend the Wildcats beat then-No. 23 Illinois in what could be the ugliest Big Ten game of the season so far, but miracles don’t happen twice in the same week unless you are birthing twins.
Let’s rattle off some stats that are attached to the Wildcats:
-325th in the nation in points per game with 63.7, meaning they don’t average tacos.
-320th in the nation in field goal percentage with 40.5 percent. Nine Spartans shoot higher than that, and sophomore guard Gary Harris is .1 percent away from bringing that list up to ten.
-225th in the nation in rebounding with 34.5. It will be a tough match-up against the Spartans, who rank 13th in the nation with 40.5 boards per game.
Even if senior forward Adreian Payne and junior forward Branden Dawson don’t play tonight, the Spartans should steamroll Northwestern on their home court.
Of course upsets happen, but if the Spartans lose this wouldn’t be an upset — this would be an MSU catastrophe that would make every couch in Cedar Village sweat.
MSU: 80 Northwestern: 55