Michigan State Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Michigan State Spartans Preview

The Michigan State Spartans are focused on getting off to a fast start after falling behind by double-digit points in the first five minutes of their past two road games, both losses (Purdue, Indiana). Star senior point guard Cassius Winston has had a few recent struggles, including a nine-turnover game in a loss to Purdue on Jan. 12 and a two-game stretch when he went 0-for-8 on 3-point shooting.

He did score 27 in a win over Minnesota on Jan. 9, when big man Xavier Tillman had 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in a 74-58 win. Tillman is averaging a double-double (13.7 points, 10.0 rebounds), while Winston is putting in 18.0 points per game.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Preview

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are battle-tested, having played the nation’s second-toughest schedule, according to kenpom.com, and are feeling good after Marcus Carr’s 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left broke a tie and lifted the team to a 62-59 win at Ohio State on Thursday. Minnesota has won three of four since losing at Michigan State, with the other victories coming at home against Michigan and Penn State.

One of the concerns in the rematch against the Spartans is closing a minus-18 rebounding margin. Sophomore forward Daniel Oturu (19.7 points, 11.6 rebounds per game) is headed to potential All-America honors but will need more help on the glass this time around.