#3 Purdue (16-1, 5-1 Big 10) vs. Michigan State (12-5, 4-2 Big 10)
Monday, January 16, 2023, 2:30 EST
Breslin Center - East Lansing, Michigan
Michigan State Roster
Michigan State Starting Lineup
|C||22||Mady Sissoko||Jr||6'9"||240||Bafoulabe, Mali|
|F||10||Joey Hauser||Sr||6'9"||220||Stevens Point, WI||Marquette|
|F||3||Jaden Akins||So||6'4"||190||Farmington, MI|
|G||2||Tyson Walker||Sr||6'1"||180||Westbury, NY||Northeastern|
|G||11||AJ Hoggard||Jr||6'4"||210||Coatesville, PA|
Michigan State Bench
|C||0||Jaxon Kohler||Fr||6'9"||240||American Fork, UT|
|F||1||Pierre Brooks||So||6'6"||220||Detroit, MI|
|F||25||Malik Hall||Sr||6'8"||220||Aurora, IL|
Michigan State On Offense
The Spartans are a top 50 team in shooting from three, but are middling in two-point field goal percentage largely (pun intended) due to their lack of experienced size inside. They hit free throws well at a 41st-ranked 75.7% but don’t draw a lot of fouls, and against a disciplined defense like Purdue’s, Sparty can’t expect to win this game from the stripe.
They typically set up with four around the arc with one undersized center on the baseline just outside either the left or right border of the painted area, but I can see them flexing further outward when they have to mind a 7’4” center.
Here’s where they may be in serious trouble facing a team with Purdue’s length: they get a lot of shots blocked, especially in the paint. In their most recent outing, a loss at Illinois, I saw a lot of shots down low and driving point guards getting pushed around to where I was thinking “(insert Purdue starter at same position) would have had a better chance to finish that.” Especially in that game, they seemed forced to try and get comfortable with off-balance shots, the type Purdue’s defense is very good at forcing.
Michigan State On Defense
Like any time we’re talking about a team with Purdue’s size, a team with undersized centers is going to have their work cut out for them down low. More double teams on Edey allowing allowing outlet passes, grass is green, change the record.
That said, Michigan’s uses substitutions with bigs a lot more evenly than most division one teams. Mady Sissoko spends 53% of the share as center, followed by Jaxon Kohler at 21%. The wildcard here is freshman Carson Cooper, who has shared 17% of court time at the five. Cooper, at 6’11” and 230 pounds, is Michigan State’s closest in stature to Zach Edey.
As is typical of Izzo’s teams at MSU, they excel at playing disciplined defense even when outsized low, but how many times to we need to mention that the current top candidate for player of the year is 7’4” and 285 pounds?
On the perimeter, they aren’t very aggressive in trying to steal, ranking 357th in the nation in turnover percentage at 14.3. We’ll discuss that more in just a second. Elsewhere, however, they are very good at closing out open jumpers and allow a 42nd-ranked effective field goal percentage of 46.4. They’re one of the twelve best teams in college basketball when it comes to disallowing offensive rebounds, but again, that’s a lot more of a test when you’re playing a team with Purdue’s size.
X Factor - Turnovers
This year’s edition of Tom Izzo’s Spartans ranks among the lowest in the country in terms of creating turnovers. As we’ve discussed many times this season, Matt Painter’s Boilers are pretty good at not coughing up the ball. This is a tough, loud environment, so Purdue really needs to maintain the ball security they’ve regularly displayed this season in order to prevent losing a few points in what’s expected to be a close game on the road.
Purdue - 73
Michigan State - 66
I see this game resulting a very familiar way for the Boilers on the road this season: Purdue just grinds it out late in the game against a team that doesn’t have the type of center that Zach Edey is. At this current point in time, I don’t think any team in college basketball does.
This will be a fun, tight game, but Purdue’s ability to gas an opponent playing some of their best ball of the year...just before Purdue spends the last four minutes as a collective boa constrictor...it wins games in tough environments.
Purdue - 69
Michigan State - 65