Indiana, the #12/14 Michigan State Spartans head to Evanston where the NU Wildcats need a win to have a shot a post season play.

MSU will miss their "Izzone" fans, and can't guarantee a win on the road, but this game will be a tough test for the Cats...
"> Indiana, the #12/14 Michigan State Spartans head to Evanston where the NU Wildcats need a win to have a shot a post season play.

MSU will miss their "Izzone" fans, and can't guarantee a win on the road, but this game will be a tough test for the Cats...
">

Pregame Intel: Michigan State Spartans

Smarting from an upset overtime loss at <font color="#cc0000"><b>Indiana</b></font>, the #12/14 <font color="#006600"><b>Michigan State Spartans</b></font> head to Evanston where the <font color="#330033"><b>NU Wildcats</b></font> need a win to have a shot a post season play.<br> <br> <b>MSU</b> will miss their "Izzone" fans, and can't guarantee a win on the road, but this game will be a tough test for the <b>Cats</b>...<br>

First off NU Sports dispelled the rumor...
This may not be Michael Jenkins last home game, but they are still honoring him as a Senior - he does have another year of eligibility left. The Cats will honor Jenkins and Davor Duvancic tonight.
Now to Michigan State...
When last we met, the Cats folded down in East Lansing 87-58, as guard Maurice Ager scored 18, and center Paul Davis hit 17 [with 9 rebounds].

Official SiteThe Spartans are still pretty balanced this season - 4 starters average in double figures, with two more players less than a point away from 10 per game.

Maurice Ager is still the big man on the floor - but he doesn't always lead Sparty in scoring. In fact guard Alan Anderson [right ] has been the leading scorer, [or tied with others] 4 of the last 5 games. Either Anderson or Davis have also led MSU is rebounds in the last 7 games.

Ager is still the Wildcat Killer - he averages 15.6 ppg against the Cats and shoots 69% from the field, 16 of 19 from outside the arc. NU coach Bill Carmody jokes about how we make teams better 3 point shooters - in this case its highlighted by the numbers.

Coached by Big 10 legend Tom Izzo, the Spartans may have been surprised by Indiana [and Bracey Wright] down in Bloomington, but will still go on to play in the NCAAs again this year, and will probably be still playing one of Sunday's games at the Big 10 Tournament a week from now.

Official SiteOne big change in February for MSU was the change at Point - Frosh guard Drew Neitzel [left] took over the reigns of the Spartans against Iowa, 7 games ago, replacing Chris Hill. They're 6-1 with him running the floor. He's already got 70 Assists against 33 turnovers and 14 steals although he doesn't score much, yet.

Neitzel must add something more than stats to the Spartan attack, he replaced a player who averaged almost 10 points a game, and who was the team leader in 3 pointers [54 of 135] and assists [113] with only 37 turnovers.

Was Izzo looking to the future? The change seems to have sparked Hill's performance - he's averaged 11.1 ppg since the switch.

All and all, a tough challenge for the Wildcats at home - NU needs to win just one of the two remaining games to finish over .500.

Positives
  • 4 Spartans average double figures
  • They're deep - 11 players with significant playing time
  • MSU averages 50% shooting or better in the 2nd half over the last 6 games.
    Negatives
    • Freshman Point Guard Drew Neitzel - but MSU is 6-1 with him at Point.
    • MSU is 5-3 on the road compared to 13-1 at home.
      Injuries
      • Nothing significant


      Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:

      The Big Gun #13 Maurice Ager
      13.5 ppg
      Deadeye Dick #40 Paul Davis
      57.8% FG Avg*
      The Bomber #5 Chris Hill+
      135 Trey Att/
      40% completion**
      Off the Boards #40 Paul Davis
      7.3 rebounds a game
      Charity Stripe #15 Alan Anderson
      89% FT Average
      Super Sub #23 Kelvin Torbert
      22.2 Mins/9.5 ppg
      Pickpocket #3 Shannon Brown
      # 5 Chris Hill
      34 Steals each
      Helping Hands #5 Chris Hill
      113 Assists
      Mr. Defense
      #40 Paul Davis
      17 Blck/ 124 D Boards

      * Sub Matt Trannon is hitting 73% of his shots, Alan Anderson averages 55% from the floor too.
      ** Ager has 100 attempts from the arc and makes 40% too.
      + Hill was replaced at point guard by Neitzel.

      Expected Starters



      PPG RPG
      Forward #15 Alan Anderson [Sr 6-6]
      12.8
      3.8
      Center
      #40 Paul Davis [Jr 6-11]
      12.1
      7.3
      Guard #3 Shannon Brown [So 6-4]
      #12 Drew Neitzel [Fr 6-0]
      # 13 Maurice Ager [Jr 6-5]
      10.9
      3.2
      13.5
      3.2
      .8
      3.8

      Totals: 52.5
      18.9

      Coach Izzo gave up 6 ppg average with the PG switch to Neitzel.


      Off the Bench
      [Have Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:



      Minutes PPG RPG
      Forward #20 Matt Trannon [Jr 6-6]
      #50 Delco Rowley [So 6-8]
      11.8
      10.7
      2.2
      2.0
      4.0
      2.5
      Center
      # 34 Drew Naymick [So 6-10]
      8.5
      1.7
      2.0
      Guard #5 Chris Hill [Sr 6-3]
      #23 Kelvin Torbert [Sr 6-4]
      #30 Tim Bograkos [Sr 6-2]
      25.2
      22.2
      9.6
      9.8
      9.5
      1.8
      1.7
      3.0
      1.6

      Totals:
      27.0
      14.8

      + With 6 Players off the bench, 2 close to 10 ppg, the Spartans don't suffer much when they substitute.
      + All 3 sub guards are Seniors - who don't turn the ball over much.

      Challenges for the Wildcats:
      • Send Davor Duvancic out with 57 wins - but it probably won't be easy...
      • Get Vedran Vukusic to 1,000 - not that he'll need much help now that he seems to have found his 3 point stroke.
      • Slow down Ager and Anderson and keep Davis off the boards - its pretty easy to write this. Not sure how easy it will be to accomplish.
      • Vince Scott needs to have a big game in the middle.
      • Play back to back games like we played against Michigan.

        Game Starts at 7 PM - Wildcat Time

        TV:
          ESPN+ - Wayne Larrivee and Shon Morris
        Radio: WGN [and XM Satellite Radio 187] with Dave [Mr. Cat] Eanet and Dave Kaplan. [Also on WJIM in Lansing]
        Gametracker: NU Sports

        You can Chat in the Free Chat room


        Statistics from the Michigan State official site 

        You can send your comments or "back door" information
        to Coach Roy
        or on AIM: CoachRoy74
        Go Cats
        Beat 'em All!
        Talk about it on the Purple Boards
        [Click Here]
        Copyright 2004 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

        Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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