The Michigan State Spartans will travel to Spokane to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a game both teams need right now.
Tom Izzo has his boys on fire right now as they look for their eight win after suffering two defeats in an extremely difficult beginning.
No. 22 Gonzaga, for their part, are trying not to make one loss to Illinois turn into a blight on their season. The best way to nip a losing streak in the bud is to take care of the ball.
They will have the support of the home crowd in what is sure to be a raucous affair. Let's delve further into the highlight game of the weekend.
Where: McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, WA
When: December 10th, 9:00 p.m. EST
Listen: List of Michigan State: Broadcast Affiliates Here. Gonzaga: Spokane: 1510 KGA, 101.1 KEYF-FM.
Betting Line: According to Betonline.com Gonzaga -4 Over/Under 137
Michigan State: No Injuries to Report
Gonzaga: Gary Bell is upgraded to probable Saturday (Knee); Robert Sacre probable Saturday (Neck)
What's At Stake?: Nothing short of momentum and status. Michigan State is going for their eight consecutive win which should make Gonzaga fans weary.
The #22 Bulldogs are trying to put the pieces together after suffering their first loss of the season. Say goodbye to the top 25 with a loss.
What They're Saying:
Myron Medcalf of ESPN places the Spartans at 6th in his rankings of the Big Ten and has this to say. "The Spartans dropped their first two games against North Carolina (on a boat) and Duke (in New York City). But they’ve won their last seven. Draymond Green is averaging a double-double. If Brandon Dawson eventually lives up to the hype, the Spartans will certainly move up this list."
John Blanchette of The Spokane Review writes on the huge impact Jud Heathcote has had on Spartans basketball, "n the nickname of “Magic” alone, it seems indisputable that the most significant recruit in the coaching career of Jud Heathcote was Earvin Johnson. A spot in the Hall of Fame, five NBA rings and the 1979 NCAA title that changed the course of college basketball are persuasive, too."
Who Will Win Saturday?
Michigan State Player to Watch: I like Freshman guard Travis Trice to make a difference. He just had 20 points off the bench against Central Connecticut. His spark will be needed in this dogfight.
Gonzaga Player to Watch: Robert Sacre is the key on both ends of the floor. He is dinged up at the moment and should still feature on Saturday. If the Bulldogs can get a full game from him, they should be just fine.
I fear the Spartans will key in on the sore neck.
Key Matchup: Gonzaga will have to play against themselves as much as the Spartans. They can shoot the lights out of the building, but need to take control of turnovers.
They had 16 turnovers against the Illini and let them get far too many easy buckets. It's all about defense for the Zags.
Prediction: Michigan State 83, Gonzaga 81