Tonight at 7 p.m. EST, the UConn Huskies will face their first true challenge of the season as they face off against #2 Michigan State at the Maui Invitational. After easy wins against Stony Brook and Vermont at home and a tough matchup against Wichita State yesterday, Connecticut looks to prove they are a new team this year, and can bounce back from last season’s debacle.
With Kemba Walker having dominated in the second half, and the Spartans struggling to beat Division II Chaminade in their game, this should be an interesting matchup. Although UConn also struggled, Kemba Walker dominated and was able to lead his team to victory.
Led by the dynamic guard duo of Kalin Lucas and Korie Lucious, MSU is sure to give Walker some trouble, something no other team has done this year. But the question is—can the rest of the Huskies step up? Walker scored 29 second half points for UConn yesterday. The rest of the team had 21.
If the Spartans can contain Kemba and nobody else steps up, Michigan State will run away with this game. That being said, if Roscoe Smith, Tyler Olander, Alex Oriakhi, or one of those guys can step up, it will give the Huskies a very good chance of pulling off the upset.
All in all, it will be a back-and-forth game. MSU needs to contain Walker—that will be their key. Meanwhile, UConn’s key is to get people besides Kemba involved. If they can do that, they have a very good chance of winning. If not, MSU should be able to continuously cover Kemba Walker, and should be able to pull off the win themselves.
Nevertheless, I think Michigan State is the better team here, and should be able to win. It will be closer than people think, but I don’t think UConn has enough.
Prediction: Michigan State 75 Connecticut 69