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After teams like Duke and Villanova suffered losses in the past couple of weeks, Michigan State 16-2 (4-1) started to really stick out as the favorite to win the national championship. "Foul trouble hurt him a bit in the first half, which is why he sat on the bench next to me". It wasn't enough to prevent the Wolverines from suffering their first home loss of the season.
After averaging 21.3 points off the bench in the seven games after their last meeting with Rutgers on December 5, then scoring a season-low four points Sunday at Ohio State, the Spartans' reserves struggled again offensively Wednesday. This is the only meeting between the teams in this regular season.
Michigan State learned over the past two games that being the conference favorite comes with a price.
You can live stream the game on the Fox Sports Go app. (2) reacts during the first half of a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
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Points in the paint were controlled by Maryland, with 32 points, compared to Michigan State's 28.
The Michigan Sports Marketing Network, headed by flagship stations WWJ (950 AM) in Detroit and WWWW (102.9 FM) in Ann Arbor, will have the call. The game can also be heard on Sirius/XM and Internet 84. The Spartans were coming off a lopsided loss at Ohio State that seemed to have lingering effects for the team and their sophomore star. That commonality makes this an important game for both teams in terms of the Big Ten race. MI might not have been a league favorite coming into the season but the Wolverines also want to keep in touch with the top teams. The Spartans and Wolverines only play each other once this season, which is a robbery to fans and members of the media who love good rivalries. The Wolverines shot 60 percent from the field and outscored Michigan State 30-7 in points off turnovers in the 86-57 rout that proved to be the largest margin of victory in the series since 1996.
Michigan State wasn't as effective in turning points into turnovers - 14 points from turnovers, compared to Maryland's 18.
The sophomore point guard was mostly a nonfactor offensively previous year as a freshman (1.6 points per game), but has turned into a legitimate threat on that side of the ball this season. Wagner leads in rebounds with 7.1 while Simpson tops in assists with 3.4 per game. The preseason All-America player opened overtime with a 3-pointer, but ended up with as many turnovers (3) as made shots on 10 attempts and appeared to be frustrated throughout the game.
Simpson was asked if head coach John Beilein has a "calming" sense about him when approaching this game, so the younger players don't get rattled when playing in MSU's arena. His assist numbers are up this year, and Michigan State has more of a balanced effort offensively than last year.