Michigan State has not lost its first two conference games in eight seasons. The Indiana Hoosiers will try to break that streak Monday night at the Breslin.
If there is one team in the nation that can appreciate MSU’s early struggles, it would be Indiana. The Hoosiers struggled last year after losing studs Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford to graduation and the NBA.
But IU has bounced back this year, getting off to an 11-3 start with impressive wins over SMU, Butler, Pittsburgh and at Nebraska. Junior point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has been huge for the Hoosiers this year, averaging over 16 points per game with better than a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. Ferrell has also been lights out from three shooting better than 45 percent from the arc.
Ferrell’s success is nothing new to anybody who follows Big Ten basketball. The real surprise has been true freshman James Blackmon Jr. He leads the Hoosiers with over 17 points per game.
Despite the offensive threats, this could be Michigan State’s chance to get its offense back on track. The Spartans have struggled mightily in the last three games, shooting just 23 percent from three point range but Indiana allows points. The Hoosiers give up an average of 71.6 points per game which is 300th in the nation according to ESPN.
MSU’s only real success has been in transition, which relies heavily upon the Spartans’ ability to rebound. They were out rebounded 52-36 against Maryland.
Until Michigan State can figure out a consistent half-court offense, they will continue to struggle. This is a nearly impossible game to pick but given what each team has displayed thus far, Indiana looks to have the advantage.
Prediction: Indiana 74-72
Andrew Hayes is the Host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports