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Michigan State at Indiana: Hoosiers’ brutal stretch continues with a date with the Spartans

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Michigan State is good at basketball and Indiana is not, here is how Indiana can be less not good

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info/How To watch

Who? Michigan State Spartans (21-3 (9-2) #6 KenPom) @ Indiana Hoosiers (12-11 (5-6) #92 KenPom)

When? Saturday, February 3, 8:15 p.m. EST, ESPN

Where? Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

Vegas? Indiana +9

KenPom? Michigan State 75-66, 20% Chance of Indiana victory

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After a nice stretch where the Hoosiers went on a solid 4-1 Big Ten run from January 6 to the 22, Indiana has regressed back to the norm after dropping their last three contests against Illinois, Purdue, and Ohio State.

This regression doesn’t seem to be entirely on the Hoosiers with the Illinois game coming off of 48 hours of rest coupled with Purdue and Ohio State being top 25 teams. However, they have another brutal test coming up against a top Michigan State team.

Four Factors

MICHIGAN STATE FOUR FACTORS

- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
- eFG% TO% Off. Reb % FT Rate
INDIANA (#101 adj. offense) 50.9% (171st) 17.9% (121st) 31.7% (95th) 36.3% (104th)
MICHIGAN STATE (#9 adj. defense) 41.7% (1st) 16.1% (315th) 26.9% (85th) 28.7% (64th)
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MICHIGAN STATE (#10 adj. offense) 59.0% (6th) 20.3% (262nd) 38.3% (3rd) 38.2% (69th nice)
INDIANA (#108 adj. defense) 51.6% (219th) 19.8% (113th) 29.3% (199th) 31.3% (128th)

The immediate reaction to Sparty’s four factors is the number of turnovers that occur on both ends of the floor. Because of this, I’d really like to see Devonte Green get some significant minutes in this game.

Green is second on the team (behind Josh Newkirk) in assist rate and after dropping a career-high 20 points which featured a 4-5 three-point shooting mark, I want to see if he can carry that momentum into Saturday’s match.

However, Michigan State has a multitude of strengths that will not be easy to stop.

The scariest one for Indiana is Michigan State’s ability to prevent scoring inside the three-point arc. MSU leads the nation in opponent two-pointer percentage holding opponents to an incredible 37.3% from down low and mid range. To coincide, they also lead the nation in block percentage at 20.3%.

This team is also scary on offense as well.

MSU’s Cassius Winston is a force to be reckoned with at the point guard position. Winson is number one in the nation for three-point percentage, third for assist rate, third for true shooting percentage, eighth in free throw percentage, 12th for effective field goal percentage, and 25th in offensive rating. If not for Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Winston could be considered one of the top point guards in all of college basketball right now. And we haven’t even talked about Jaren Jackson Jr., Miles Bridges, or Nick Ward.

Nick Ward currently leads the nation in offensive rebound percentage and Jaren Jackson Jr. is currently seventh nationally in block percentage. Miles Bridges is a phenomenal free throw shooter (90 Percent from the line) and takes 30 percent of MSU’s shots when he’s in the game, which is a team high. Easy to say, this team is stacked.

But what are three things Indiana can do to pull off the massive upset?

Three Things

  1. Mcbobbing for apples: Zach McRoberts is 34th in the nation for steal percentage. Michigan State has an abysmal 20.3% turnover rate on offense, which doesn’t even rank in the top 250 nationally on KenPom. McRoberts thievery will be crucial for not only swinging more points in IU’s direction but, also, getting what should be a packed Assembly Hall even more engaged Saturday night.
  2. Green with envy: Devonte Green and should start over Robert Johnson at the two. Before you grab your pitchforks, here is my reasoning. Green and Josh Newkirk are the team leaders when it comes to assist rates and Michigan State has a terrible turnover rate on defense (#315 on KenPom). Robert Johnson has shown some struggles as of late and is 33.6% from three on the season which is a career low. I think Johnson would be more effective coming off the bench and be the experienced spark the team could use.
  3. They’re free for a reason: I understand that I’m beating a dead horse but I’m still going to say because it will always be important, HIT. YOUR. FREE. THROWS. Indiana has lost out on a handful of wins simply because they couldn’t hit their free throws down the stretch. There is no secret formula on how to do it, I don’t know what the issue is. I’m surprised Archie hasn’t asked for advice on Twitter. Have the players do yoga, teach them mindfulness, align their chakras, I don’t know at this point.