When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Where: Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Radio: WJR-AM (760).
• Box score
MORE MSU HOOPS:Daring Michigan State basketball predictions for every player on the roster
ENJOY A BIG WIN:Win over Kentucky shows early growth in key players – and Izzo
Game Notes: The Spartans’ early games against stiff competition — No. 2 Gonzaga last week and No. 4 Kentucky on Tuesday — have allayed concerns that Tom Izzo’s team would be short-handed to compete with top teams.
Much of that is due to the surprise starts from forward Joey Hauser and center Mady Sissoko. Hauser had a breakaway game against the Wildcats in Indianapolis, recording 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including four 3-pointers, while adding eight rebounds. On the other hand, we’ve seen Hauser dominate non-conference foes before — he averaged 13.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over six games to open the 2020-21 season, going on to average just 8.9 points. , 4.7 boards and 1.2 assists in 20 games of Big Ten play that season.
Sissoko, meanwhile, averaged 15 points and 8.5 rebounds in the five-day span against the Bulldogs and Wildcats. Not only did those games set career highs in scoring for the Mali junior through Utah, but they were also his first double-digit games in three seasons as a Spartan.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are coming off a Final Four appearance last season in which they defeated Big Ten powerhouses Ohio State (Round of 32) and Michigan (Sweet 16). Nova lost a lot of experience in the offseason, with seniors Collin Gillespie and Jermaine Samuels—two of the Wildcats’ top three scorers—all leaving and head coach Jay Wright suddenly retiring. Guard Justin Moore, who was No. 2 on the roster with 14.8 points per game, is back but unlikely to return for the start of Big East play after tearing his Achilles tendon in Nova’s Elite Eight victory over Houston . That left plenty of playing time for returners Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels, who averaged 18.3 points and 16.7 points per game over the Wildcats’ first three games.
After receiving Villanova, the Spartans head west for a trio of matches at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon, including matchups with Alabama (Thursday) and UConn of Oregon (Friday). Meanwhile, the Wildcats also head to Portland, where they play Iowa State on Thursday before playing North Carolina or Portland on Friday. If both the Spartans and Wildcats have the same results — win/win, win/lose, lose/win, or lose/lose — on Thursday and Friday, they would meet again on Sunday in one of three venues scheduled for the eighth. team tournament.
Don’t see the updates? Refresh the page or just check it out on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State basketball beats Villanova, 73-71: Game thread replay