MSU heads to Jimmy V Classic at the Garden

# 14 Michigan State (5-2) heads to Madison Square Garden in New York City to face #6 Boston College (6-0) as part of the Jimmy V Classic.

EAST LANSING - The Spartans are wrapping up a tough stretch where they played eight games in eighteen days. The Boston College Eagles will be the third top-ten team they have faced in that stretch.

Both teams have great experience and depth, starting two seniors, two juniors, and one sophomore.

The Spartans defeated Arkansas-Little Rock in Grand Rapids on Saturday 72-67 in a game that was tighter than it should have been.

The Spartans have been struggling on the defensive side of the ball, falling to an unranked Hawaii squad to start the season and allowing a struggling Georgia Tech team to almost come back from ten points down with less than two minutes left.

Offensively, the quintet of Shannon Brown, Paul Davis, Maurice Ager, and Drew Neitzel are all averaging more than 30 minutes a game, making them a dominant force on the court.

Through seven games, the trio of Davis, Brown, and Ager has combined to averaged 58.9 points, or 71.7 percent of MSU's 82.1 points per game.

Paul Davis has been playing like an All-American, recording four double-doubles in seven games, including more than 20 points in the last three contests.

As usual, a great strength for the Spartans has been their free-throw shooting. Michigan State leads the Big Ten in free-throw percentage, shooting .812 (124-of-165). Only two Spartans are shooting under 80 percent (Ager and Marquise Gray). Paul Davis leads the way, shooting .857 (42-of-49).

Last season, MSU led the Big Ten and ranked third in the nation in free-throw percentage (.777), while featuring the top four foul shooters in the league.

The Eagles are led by two experienced seniors, Craig Smith and Louis Hinnant. Junior forward Jared Dudley leads the team in scoring with 18 points a game with Craig Smith second at 15 points.

The Eagles have four players averaging in double-figures with a standout freshman in Tyrese Rice averaging 12.8 points off the bench.

Defensively, BC is allowing 65.5 points per game while winning the rebounding edge in half of their six games. They have forced 15.2 turnovers per game and have 5.7 steals per game as well.

This will be only the fourth time that these two programs have met, with Boston College holding a 2-1 series edge. The two last met on December 28, 1984 with the Eagles winning 82-74.

The Spartans have only played two home games this season and this will be already their fifth neutral-site contest, that trend will continue when the Spartans face the Shockers of Wichita State on Saturday, their sixth neutral-site game, at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

In one of their toughtest test to date, The Spartans face a Boston College team that mirrors them in game experience and has just as much talent.

MSU could gain a huge amount of national respect and a momentum lift if they can knock off the Eagles, as they head towards the start of Big Ten conference play.

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