Michigan State looks to avoid a dreaded 4-6 start to the season. Do they have any chance to beat an unbeaten Baylor squad?
TV schedule: Saturday, December 16th, 2:00 pm FOX
Arena: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan
One of the biggest team disappointments of the early has been Michigan State (4-5, 0-2), who lost its season-opener to James Madison and hasn’t looked good since. They’re coming off two straight losses, including a 77-70 road defeat at Nebraska. Malik Hall had 22 pts and 7 rebs to lead all scorers, while Tyson Walker had 17 pts.
However, the lack of production elsewhere, mainly at the center position, has been a big issue. Mady Sissoko and Carson Cooper combined for two points against the Cornhuskers, with former five-star prospect Xavier Booker registering another DNP-CD. We’re entering “must-win” territory for the Spartans but the good news is that they have a massive home opportunity against one of the best teams in the nation.
Baylor (9-0) is one of seven unbeaten teams left in the sport. They have wins over Florida and Auburn, while coming off a 78-60 win over Seton Hall. Rayj Dennis had 17 pts and 7 asts, while Ja’Kobe Walter and Langston Love were also in double figures as well. On the team, the Bears have six double-digit scorers, including the freshmen, Walter and forwrds Yves Missi.
That’s going to be a lot of firepower for Michigan State to deal with. Not only will Walker have to give them 20+ pts but they can’t afford for either AJ Hoggard or Jaden Akins to have a shot at winning this game.
Homecourt advantage didn’t matter for the Spartans when they lost at home against Wisconsin but they’ll need the crowd to be fully engaged to make this an even battle. We’ve seen underdogs pull off the road upset all the time and Michigan State is definitely desperate. That being said, I haven’t seen enough from Coach Tom Izzo’s side to think they’ll get the win this weekend.
Prediction: Baylor 80, Michigan State 69