Tuesday, December 31, 2013
No. 5 Michigan State at Penn State
Time: 5PM ET
Venue: Bryce Jordan Center
TV: Big Ten Network
Records: Michigan State 11-1, 0-0 Big Ten; Penn State 9-4, 0-0 Big Ten
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Adreian Payne (18.0 ppg); Rebounds – Branden Dawson (9.3 rpg); Assists – Keith Appling (5.0 apg); Steals – Travis Trice (1.5 spg).
Penn State stat leaders: Points – John Johnson (20.0 ppg); Rebounds – Ross Travis (8.4 rpg); Assists – Tim Frazier (7.5 apg); Steals – Frazier (1.8 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan State W4, Penn State W1
Point Spread: Michigan State -5.5
Prediction: Penn State appears to be a much better team that it was last season, but the Nittany Lions haven’t faced the same type of talent that Michigan State has in non-conference play. Michigan State has been a hard team to figure out, but they do typically play to the level of their competition. I think the Spartans will be up for the game, with it being the start of conference play, but Penn State will bring their best as well. I see Michigan State winning, but Penn State hanging around and keeping it interesting throughout. Michigan State 77, Penn State 70
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Spartans have worked hard to get back to the Rose Bowl, and that in itself could be all the accomplishment that Michigan State is looking for.
Stanford has been in this situation, while MSU can clearly get lost in the moment.
It doesn’t help that the Spartans are without defensive leader Max Bullough, either.
Stanford poses the toughest physical test Michigan State has had this season. The Spartans have struggled against physical running backs, and they will see one in this game in Tyler Gaffney. Unlike what Ohio State did with Carlos Hyde, Stanford won’t stop feeding Gaffney. With Bullough out, the Spartans are likely to have a tough time stopping the Cardinal ground game, which should keep the MSU offense off the field.
If Stanford is able to control the ball on offense, it may cause MSU to press on offense, which likely won’t go well. Connor Cook has been composed this season, but is facing a tough defense. His mistakes will be amplified against Stanford. While Jeremy Langford could have another solid game, I don’t think he will be able to do enough on his own to win the game.
Ultimately, the experience of Stanford and the Cardinal’s ability to match MSU’s physical play will lead them to victory.
Stanford 27, Michigan State 16