College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Seton Hall
This week in college basketball looks to be one of the more exciting weeks of the early season, with many ranked matchups on the slate. None of them look more exciting than when No.3 Michigan State heads to Orange, New Jersey, to face No. 12 Seton Hall on Thursday.
The Spartans, ranked first to begin the season, have the preseason National Player of the Year in Cassius Winston on their team. On opening night, though, Winston and the Spartans shot an abysmal 5 for 26 from behind the 3-point line. If Michigan State plans on having the season it hoped to have, Thursday’s game would be as good a time as ever to get back into shape.
Despite shooting poorly from long range, Winston was still able to put up 21 points in the loss to Kentucky. In the next game against Binghamton, Winston had 17 points in his 26 minutes of play. This performance came the night after the death of his brother. In such an emotional time for Winston and his family, we can expect the star senior to be on top of his game for Thursday night, as he continues to honor his late brother.
Seton Hall had high hopes to begin the season, landing at No. 12 in the preseason rankings. Unfortunately, the Pirates will have to play this game without preseason All-American Myles Powell, who suffered an ankle injury in last week’s game against Stony Brook. Losing the senior guard is massive hit, as Powell led Seton Hall in scoring last season with 23 points per game. The next highest player only had 10.
It is tough to say who will pick up the load for Seton Hall with Powell out, as the offense is usually run through him, but in his absence, coach Kevin Willard will be able to see if he can find a secondary star to compliment Powell after he returns from injury.
Both of these teams were the preseason favorites to win their respective conferences. Michigan Statewill have a much more difficult road through conference play, though, as Big Ten teams like Ohio State and Michigan are on the rise. As every team’s goal is to get to the big dance, winning games like this in early non-conference play is absolutely crucial for building up a tournament résumé.
For the Pirates, staying on track in the absence of Powell is the game plan on right now if they want to return to the NCAA Tournament. Winning against Michigan State without their star player would be a huge résumé boost come Selection Sunday. Of course, this may seem like a longshot, but using this game to find a new way to play while Powell is out gives the Pirates a chance to rest him when needed and still stay relevant.
Seton Hall is a solid Big East basketball team, but without the star power of Myles Powell to match Cassius Winston, the Pirates will not have enough offense to keep up with Michigan State. Seton Hall will keep it close in the first half but will ultimately be outlasted by the Spartans in the second half.
Prediction: Michigan State 80, Seton Hall 68
Ben Mooney is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.