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Notre Dame Basketball

Game Preview: #5 Notre Dame (6-0) vs #3 Michigan State (5-1)

November 30, 2017
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#5 Notre Dame (6-0) vs #3 Michigan State (5-1) 


Date: November 30th

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan 

TV: ESPN


QUICK FACTS

The two programs will meet for the 97th time on Thursday. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 60-36. 

- The Irish and Spartans have played just twice since 1979. Notre Dame beat Michigan State 79-78 on December 3, 2014. 

- Notre Dame is currently 3-1 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 

- Notre Dame enters the game ranked No. 5 in the country. It's the highest ranking sicne 2015 when the Irish finished No. 5 in the final USA Today/Coaches Poll. 

- The last time Notre Dame was ranked higher than No. 5 was in 2011 when they were ranked No. 4 entering the Big East Championship.


THE STARTERS

Notre Dame

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Matt Farrell 17.5 2.3 4.3
TJ Gibbs 15.5 2.3 3.2
Rex Pflueger 6.2 5.0 2.3
Bonzie Colson 20.0 10.5 1.5
Martinas Geben 8.0 4.8 1.2

Michigan State 

Name Points Rebounds Assists
Cassius Winston 12.2 3.0 7.5
Joshua Langford 13.7 2.7 1.2
Miles Bridges 15.2 6.8 1.8
Jaren Jackson Jr.  10.0 8.2 1.3
Nick Ward 13.8 6.3 0.7

National Rankings 

Category Notre Dame Michigan State
Scoring Offense 84.5 (43) 80.8 (87)
Scoring Defense 60.2 (22) 63.0 (40)
Rebound Margin 5.3 (83) 10.7 (19)
Assist Per Game 15.2 (118) 18.7 (22)
FG% Offense 52.8% (7) 50.4% (31)
FG% Defense  37.7% (38) 33.8% (2)
Three-Pointers Per Game 9.0 (79) 7.5 (178)
Three-Point Percentage  43.2% (15) 37.8% (85)
Free-Throw Percentage 74.4% (82) 71.8% (137)
Assist-Turnover Ratio 1.75 (6) 1.13 (137)

Preview

I don't think many would have predicted Notre Dame to be ranked fifth in the country a month into the season, but the Irish are ranked in the Top 5 and get to prove they are worthy of the ranking against Michigan State. 

Notre Dame passed the Wichita State test last week, but the Breslin Center will be a tougher place t get a win as the "Izzone" will be rocking for the top five showdown. 

The Irish will need to get the ball moving on offense as the Spartans have advantages in size, speed, athleticism and length, which is something Notre Dame struggled with at times against the Shockers. 

It will be interesting how Notre Dame guards Miles Bridges, who can do a little bit of everything on offense. Rex Pflueger would be the obvious choice, but Bridges is one of the few players who can give him problems with his physical play. 

If Notre Dame plays a lot of zone on Thursday, it wouldn't be a shock at all, but the Irish would likely give up a lot of offensive rebounds at the same time. 

Notre Dame will need to hit the three-point shot on Thursday to open up as much of the floor as possible. Bonzie Colson will get a chance to put his name firmly in the Player of the Year race with a big night. 

Colson shouldn't be lacking for motivation as it will be also a big game to show the NBA scouts what he can do against NBA talent and NBA bodies. 

The X-factor in this game will be Michigan State big man Nick Ward. Martinas Geben will have his hands full against a big that can score, but who guards Ward when Geben is out? It will be a tall task for Elijah Burns and if the Irish bigs get in foul trouble, it could be a long night. 

All in all, the Irish are playing with house money and a win would be the ultimate confidence boost, but at this point in the year, I am just not sure it happens in a true road game. 

Prediction: Michigan State 76 Notre Dame 65

Come talk during the game here: GAME THREAD 

 
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