Prediction: MSU wins a defensive battle tonight versus Purdue
Coming off such a disappointing loss to Nebraska last Sunday, I don’t think there could be a more refreshing game for the No. 13 MSU men’s basketball team than Purdue.
This is the perfect warmup for the showdown for the top of the Big Ten showdown at Michigan on Sunday.
Even if Keith Appling doesn’t start, and I don’t think he will, he and Adreian Payne will get some much needed game time together.
Purdue doesn’t do any one thing really well, but in the Big Ten, anything is possible.
It will be up to sophomore Gary Harris to defend the Boilermakers’ leading scorer, Terone Johnson, and Appling and junior guard Travis Trice to stick with Ronnie Johnson.
Harris has been looking better in the last couple games, but he needs to really get some consistency in his shot. What better place to do it than at his mom’s alma mater?
I think the Spartans will come back with a vengeance after the loss to the Cornhuskers. Tuesday’s practice was the most intense I’ve seen the team all year.
MSU: 68 Purdue: 58
Tonight will be Denzel Valentine’s night — you heard it here first.
Purdue has one monster on its team in 7-foot center AJ Hammons, leaving a tough night for Adreian Payne. With his ability to stretch the floor, he will still do some damage, but MSU needs to find its power from the backcourt.
With Keith Appling being a question mark and Gary Harris still trying to get out of a little funk, Valentine will be the man tonight.
Travis Trice and Harris will each score in double figures, but my crystal basketball tells me Valentine puts up a surprising 17 points and eight rebounds.
MSU won’t be earning the win by offense though. Instead they will lock down Purdue on defense to the point where the Boilermakers will feel suffocated.
Yes, Purdue is coming off its best performance of the year in their 82-64 win over Indiana, but MSU simply won’t allow that. The Spartans possess the best defense in the Big Ten, and something tells me Purdue won’t shoot 55 percent from behind the arc again.
Expect a painfully low-scoring game in the first half, but look for MSU to pull away in the final eight minutes of the game.
MSU: 74 Purdue: 59