Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans finally make it to the RAC to take on Rutgers at 6 pm. It's on BTN and it's a make-up game from the snow out.
1. So, um, will Rutgers have guards? Well, they should have Myles Mack. After that it's a question mark. Mike Williams is out another 10 days with an ankle injury and as of Monday, Bishop Daniels was battling a hip flexor strain. It's questionable how much Daniels has healed, so Mack is going to be playing all 40 barring an injury (God forbid) or fouling out. Otherwise, expect to see a healthy dose of Malick Kone, Kerwin Okoro, Jake Dadika and Khalil Batie at guard. That's a recipe for disaster.
2. What's the story with Michigan State? Honestly, I don't know much about them this year, but before the injuries this was a game I had circled as a possible Rutgers upset. From what I remember, the Spartans don't press much and they're more forward oriented than guard oriented. Mack probably wouldn't have been pressured much. Now? I'm not so sure.
3. Can Rutgers win? Listen, it is college basketball and upsets happen, but it's going to take a lot. This will have to be Kadeem Jack's NBA highlight reel. He's going to have to attack the paint, get dunks and get easy lay-ups and keep battling. The more he gets to the line, the better. If that happens, he might be able to open things up for Mack around the perimeter.
4. Will Junior Etou suit up? I'd expect him to. As Jordan was speaking to the press on Monday, he said things were back to normal with Etou. Rutgers is going to need him too. He has to buy in, take his shots when they come and bear down on defense. Rutgers is going to be very easy to defend tomorrow, especially if Myles gets in foul trouble. Etou needs to be a piece, but do it within the offense. Get back to cutting to the hoop and receiving the pass.
5. What's the crowd going to be like? If this game had taken place Tuesday night, it would have been near capacity. It was the blackout game and there would be time for people to get to dinner before hand. There probably would have been a buzz in the RAC. Now, who knows? It's still a blackout game, but it's at an odd time--one that makes it tough to get to from Northern Jersey. In fact, I'll be forced to take it in on BTN, because I won't be able to get there for six. But who knows, maybe the students come out in full force.