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The “Slay Sparty” Game Thread: No. 15 Rutgers at No. 23 Michigan State

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Iowa v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

No. 15 Rutgers (7-2; 3-2) at No. 23 Michigan State (7-3; 1-3)

How To Watch, Listen, News & Notes

Where: The Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan

Tip-off: Tuesday, January 5 at 9:00 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN2 - Dave Fleming and Jay Bilas

Stream: ESPN WATCH

Radio: Live Listen - Rutgers Sports Properties Radio Network - WCTC 1450 AM/WOR 710 AM/Sirius 83/ XM 83, Jerry Recco & Joe Boylan; WRSU 88.7 FM - Chris Tsakonas and Brant Wolff

KenPom Rankings: Rutgers is 19, which is the same since a 2 point loss to Iowa; Michigan State is 50, which is two spots better since a 7 point win over Nebraska.

Efficiency Rankings: Rutgers - Offense 112.2 (18th) Defense 92.0 (27th); Michigan State- Offense 111.8 (25th) Defense 96.3 (80th)

KenPom Prediction: Rutgers 76 Michigan State 75; Rutgers is given a 54% chance to win.

OTB Guide to KenPom

Vegas Line: Michigan State -3

Series History: Michigan State leads the all-time series 10-0, including a 77-65 victory in their last meeting on December 8, 2019.

Michigan State SB Nation Site: The Only Colors

Key Contributors

Michigan State - 6’6” junior Aaron Henry (13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.3 blocks); 6’9” redshirt junior Joey Hauser (12.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 50% FG, 36.6% 3-pt FG); 6’2” sophomore Rocket Watts (9.8 points, 3.9 assists, 1.7 rebounds); 6’5” redshirt senior Joshua Langford (8.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 36.1% 3-pt FG); 6’8” junior Gabe Brown (8.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 55.9% FG, 47.2% 3-pt FG); 6’7” sophomore Malik Hall (6.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 51.2% FG, 45.5% 3-pt FG); 6’0” junior Foster Loyer (6.2 points, 2.5 assists, 1.8 rebounds, 41.2% 3-pt FG); 6’8” junior Thomas Kithier (3.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 64.0% FG); 6’3” freshman A.J. Goddard (3.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists); 6’11” junior Marcus Bingham Jr. (2.4 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.3 blocks)

Rutgers - 6’6” junior Ron Harper Jr. (22.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 53.6% FG, 48.3% 3-pt FG); 6’2” senior Jacob Young (15.7 points, 5.2 assists, 2.4 steals, 2.1 rebounds, 43.5% 3-pt FG); 6’4” junior Montez Mathis (15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steal; 40.5% 3-pt FG); 6’4” Geo Baker (10.2 points, 3.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 steals); 6’10” redshirt junior Myles Johnson (8.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.2 assists, 58.5% FG); 6’6” sophomore Paul Mulcahy (6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 40.0% 3-pt FG); 6’11” Cliff Omoruyi (5.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 block, 72.2% FG); 6’10” freshman Dean Reiber (1.6 points, 1.4 rebounds); 6’7” junior Caleb McConnell (first game of the season against Iowa: 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist)

Game Preview

Tonight is a very important game for Rutgers to get back on the winning track and build positive momentum ahead of Saturday’s rematch with Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights have performed much better in Big Ten play than Michigan State, but the Spartans are still a talented team. However, they are a much more flawed version than in years past, as they lack a post presence and have not gotten strong point guard play. This is a golden opportunity for Rutgers to finally defeat Tom Izzo and MSU. Creating defensive pressure on the backcourt of Michigan State and connecting from three-point range are areas they need to have success with to win. Join us in the comment section during the action!