The Cornhuskers visit eighth-place Penn State on Friday and host 13th-place IL on Monday. While the Knights covered in that game, the Spartans should be plenty motivated following the loss to Ohio State. Joshua Langford and Cassius Winston were key in the team's win over Rutgers, so one can expect their contributions will be even more important in a game against MI.
It should have been pretty obvious. And considering how the Big Ten is this season, the Spartans should just run rough-shot through the league. It's highly improbable and darn near impossible. Rutgers brings in an 11-6 record while Michigan State is 15-2 on the season. The Spartans quickly quelled those talks by taking a decisive defeat at Ohio State.
Guard Taryn McCutcheon led Michigan State with a career-high 25 points on a career-high six 3-pointers, including two in a 27-second span in the third quarter that turned a four-point margin into a double-digit cushion. "The hostile environment, we didn't handle it well. There's nothing we can do about it now except learn from it, and that's what we're doing". This will be the first of three-straight home games for the Spartans. Matthews and Wagner are averaging 15.6 points and 13.9 points per game, respectively, while connecting on more than half of their shot attempts.
Nick Ward continues to impress Tom Izzo. However, a year ago was an outlier as the games between these two teams average a 1.3 point differential in favor of the Spartans. Rutgers doubled up MSU in scoring to start the half, tying the Spartans at the mid-way point in the half, thanks to a couple big Geo Baker and Corey Sanders buckets.
"I'm going to teach him how to be a little more of a jerk", Izzo said after MSU's win on Wednesday.
John Beilein, meanwhile, can't work up the same emotions for Michigan State. They look out of sync on offense and are prone to foul on defense.
"We know they're a very scrappy team", sophomore star Miles Bridges said of Rutgers.
"They tried to make me feel a little better", he said.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Miles Bridges and Joshua Langford combined for 2 points in the first half of Michigan State's overtime win over Rutgers but had 21 of their team's 31 points the rest of the way.
Sims had missed his second free throw and the Horned Frogs (13-3, 1-3) got the play they wanted with Fisher driving the lane for a point-blank layup that somehow bounced out. "You can't just hone in one of them". So once the Spartans got going again, they were able to pad their lead back up to 50-43 with 6:23 to go.
"I played against him in high school on the AAU circuit and he was tough back then", he said.