Arizona and Michigan State face off in a Thanksgiving feast matchup. Can the Spartans turn things around and beat a top-5 team?
TV schedule: Thursday, November 23rd, 4:00 pm ET, FOX
Arena: Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California
One of the big storylines of the early part of the season has been Michigan State’s struggles (3-2). After losing to James Madison on opening night, the Spartans lost to Duke in the Champions Classic. Outside of star guard Tyson Walker (23.0 ppg), the supporting cast has struggled to this point, with AJ Hoggard and Jaden Akins scoring under double figures.
The hope is after beating both Alcorn State and Butler by 20+ points each, Michigan State will be ready to take on one of the best teams in the country. Arizona (5-0) has risen up the rankings to No. 3 in the country, which includes four buy game victories and a massive road win over Duke.
It’s been a balanced effort for the Wildcats to this point, with six players averaging between 11.4-13.8 ppg. Sophomore guard Kylan Boswell leads the team in scoring, along with 4.0 assists a game. UNC transfer Caleb Love leads the team in passing with 4.8 apg, while Keshad Johnson and Oumar Ballo has been one of the top two-way frontcourts in the country.
Since both teams have played Duke, Arizona would be viewed as the favorite in this neutral site matchup. Still, Coach Tom Izzo losing three key games in the first couple of weeks is a complete rarity and the Spartans are in line to get much better from the three-point line after an awful start to the season.
However, the reality is that Arizona has been firing on all cylinders since the start of the season and they match up fairly well, particularly in the frontcourt. Unless Walker goes off for the Green team, look for Arizona to remain unbeaten.
Prediction: Arizona 76, Michigan State 68