1. Appling vs. Burke: Ok, everyone has been talking about this individual matchup all year long and we finally get to see it tonight. Appling has downplayed this matchup when asked, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this is personal for both point guards. Both have been doing it all for their teams as of late, scoring, passing, rebounding and even recording some steals. Keith Appling was forced to play with a shoulder brace last game against Minnesota but it did not seem to slow him down. I really think these two players are so good that they will cancel each other out, but if either doesn’t come to play this could be a long game for their respected team.
2. The Big Men: Michigan State will have a significant size advantage down low tonight. Derrick Nix (6’9” 270lbs) and Adreian Payne (6’10” 240lbs) will be matched up with Mitch McGary (6’10” 250lbs) and Glenn Robinson III (6’6” 210lbs). Robinson will be way overmatched in the post without help against Payne, and if help comes the Spartan big men have been great at kicking it out to an open shooter. Will Jordan Morgan play? The Wolverines will need all the big bodies they can get, but the 6’8” 250lb junior is questionable with an ankle injury. Branden Dawson will also try to back down a smaller Nik Stauskas. See the trend? The Spartans are going to try to pound the ball down low, and if they’re doubled kick it out to open shooters (Harris). If Michigan can slow or prevent MSU from scoring in the paint they could leave EL with a win.
3. Michigan Freshman: In their road losses the Michigan freshman have been TERRIBLE. I’m talking to you Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas! In the losses @Ohio State, @Indiana and @Wisconsin here are their scoring numbers:
Glenn Robinson III: 8(OSU), 2(IU), 4(Wisc)
Nik Stauskas: 0(OSU), 10(IU), 5 (Wisc)
As you can see the Michigan freshman (that start) need to step it up if they hope to win on the road in East Lansing. Each will be faced with a tough matchup, but can either score their average? I do not think they can, but maybe they will prove me wrong.