Keys to Victory: #21 Michigan State v. UCLA

The Spartans, like the Bruins, prefer an up-tempo game. MSU has been balanced offensively in 2004, with six players averaging double figures on the scorecard. Freshman guard Jordan Farmar leads the Bruins into East Lansing.

TIP-OFF: 9 p.m. @ Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich. (14,759)
Radio: Spartan Sports Network - Will Tieman (Play by Play), Gus Ganakas (Color). Flagship - WJIM (1240 AM/97.5 FM)
TV: ESPN2 - Dan Shulman (Play by Play), Dick Vitale (color)
Tale of the Tape Michigan State UCLA
Record 6-2 6-1
Coach Tom Izzo Ben Howland
Career Record (Years) 213-92 (10)
185-117 (11)
Leading Scorer Maurice Ager (15.0)
Dijon Thompson (18.0)
Leading Rebounder Paul Davis (6.8)
Dijon Thompson (8.5)
Leading Assists Chris Hill (4.1)
Jordan Farmar (5.4)
Series Record UCLA leads, 4-1 (Bruins are 1-0 in East Lansing)
Last Meeting UCLA, 64-58, in Los Angeles (12-20-03)
Series Streak UCLA won two

UCLA Bruins Starting Line-Up
Ppg. Rpg. Apg.
F - #1 Dijon Thompson (Sr., 6-7, 209)
18.0 8.5 2.0
F - #15 Ryan Hollins (Jr., 7-0, 225)
6.7 3.3 1.0
C - #45 Michael Fey (Jr., 7-0, 270)
8.9 4.7 0.6
G - #11 Jordan Farmar (Fr., 6-2, 170)
13.6 1.9 5.4
G - #4 Arron Afflalo (Fr., 6-5, 206)
12.0 3.3 2.6

Michigan State Spartans Starting Line-Up
Ppg. Rpg. Apg.
F - #15 Alan Anderson (Sr., 6-6, 220) 12.5 4.3 1.9
C - #40 Paul Davis (Jr., 6-11, 267) 12.4 6.8 2.0
G - #5 Chris Hill (Sr., 6-3, 197) 10.8 1.8 4.1
G - #3 Shannon Brown (So., 6-4, 205) 12.0 3.3 2.1
G - #13 Maurice Ager (Jr., 6-5, 195) 15.0 5.1 1.9
Team Statistics MSU UCLA
Scoring Offense 84.2 74.3
Scoring Defense 63.1 68.0
Scoring Margin +21.1 +6.3
Field Goal Pct. .500 .479
Field Goal Pct. Defense .413 .436
3Pt. FG Pct. .419 .360
3Pt. FG Pct. Defense .331 .254
Free Throw Pct. .788 .738
Rebound Margin +8.8 +6.0
Turnovers-per-game 15.0 17.4

UCLA Game Plan: The Bruins key matchup will be when 6'7" Dijon Thompson matches up with MSU's 6'6" Alan Anderson. Thompson is UCLA's leading scorer (18 PPG), and scored a career-high 29 points in an 81-79 victory over Michigan. When they want to go big, UCLA has 7-footers Michael Fey and Ryan Hollins. While both are somewhat limited athletically, Fey tips the scales at 270 pounds. If either can get into a rhythm, it could mean problems for Spartan big-man Paul Davis.

High profile freshman guards Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo are both averaging double figure so far this season.

MSU Game Plan: The Spartans, like the Bruins, prefer an up-tempo game. MSU has been balanced offensively in 2004, with six players averaging double figures on the scorecard. Taking care of the basketball continues to be a Spartan focal-point. On the season, MSU is averaging 15.0 turnovers per game. In the last two games however, that number has dropped to 12.0 turnovers per game, including just 4.0 in the second half.

Coach Tom Izzo is using the semester break to work on dribble penetration defense. That will be key in stopping Farmar and Afflalo, who love to break down a defense to open things up inside for their big front line.

SPARTAN KEYS TO VICTORY: Ball Control, Rebounding, and Backcourt Defense

Michigan State is 5-0 this season when committing fewer turnovers than its opponents, but just 1-2 when committing an equal number or more than the opposition. They must control the ball or things could get ugly with the high-flying Bruins.

The Spartans are out-rebounding their opponents by a +8.8 margin this season. They also hold the edge on the offensive glass, grabbing 13.3 offensive boards per game. MSU is 6-0 when it out-rebounds its opponent, 0-2 when it is out-rebounded. For the first time all season, the Spartans face a team with size. With both MSU and UCLA looking to run the court, the team that controls the boards tonight will likely have the upper hand on the scoreboard too.

If the Spartans can control the ball and the glass, while containing the Bruins explosiveness with good defense and a little running of their own, they should come out on top.

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