The No. 11 Michigan State Spartans (16-3) are looking to rebound after two straight losses as they welcome the Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-8) to the Breslin Center Wednesday night.
After a school-best 13-0 record to start the season, the Spartans are just 3-3 in their last 6 games, including losing their last 2 matches.
No. 9 Iowa swept the Spartans and was able to notch their first win at the Breslin Center since 1993. Just a few days later, MSU lost in a heartbreaker to Wisconsin 77-76 in Madison, where the Badgers have now won 11 of the last 13 games against MSU at the Kohl Center.
In contrast, Nebraska enters enemy territory trying to protect a 3 game winning streak, taking down Rutgers, Minnesota, and Illinois in the process.
Tom Izzo and company are seeking to clean up their defense and turnovers, which ultimately led the Spartans to their downfall.
The defense has had a very poor showing recently, with sloppy execution caused by the lack of speed and concentration to keep up with the opposing players they are guarding. Players would get out of their assignments due to miscommunication, leading to fouls that would later result in points for the opposing team.
MSU also turned the ball over 10 times in the first 10 minutes in their home loss to Iowa, yielding a total of 16 turnovers for the entire game.
The biggest key to the game lies in the hands of the Michigan State defense. The defense has to dominate the boards and be stingy as can be while staying out of foul trouble. Look for Eron Harris and Matt McQuaid to secure the perimeter, while Matt Costello and Deyonta Davis hold their ground on the interior.
The dynamic duo of Denzel Valentine and Bryn Forbes, along with emerging stars in Harris and Davis, should keep the offense humming.
Michigan State and Nebraska are each in the middle of the Big Ten standings with 3-3 conference marks. The Spartans lead the series 4-2 since Nebraska joined the Big Ten conference in 2011. However, the Cornhuskers have won the last 2 meetings, including a 60-51 effort in their last visit to the Breslin Center 2 seasons ago.