Michigan State vs. Arizona prediction and game preview. The Spartans and Wildcats tip off the college basketball season at the Armed Forces Classic in Hawaii.
Michigan State vs. Arizona Game Preview
When: Friday, Nov. 11 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
The mystery of Arizona sophomore Allonzo Trier’s status continues to grow. Coach Sean Miller and the university as a whole have remained completely silent regarding Trier, who hasn’t participated in team activities and did not travel with the Wildcats to Hawaii. All signs point to Trier not playing against the Spartans, and there’s no indication regarding if – or when – he’ll be able to suit up. The Wildcats will also be without Ray Smith, who is awaiting knee surgery.
Michigan State is dealing with some roster issues of its own, as big men Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter are sidelined indefinitely with injuries. But unlike Tom Izzo teams of years past, the Spartans are built on athleticism. Miles Bridges has the potential to be one of the most exciting players in the country, and Izzo has praised fellow five-star freshman Josh Langford as an all-around talent.
Michigan State Wins If …
… Eron Harris steps up. The senior is the Spartans’ leading returning scorer at 9.3 points per game, but he’s expected to bring that number up on a team laden with freshman. He, along with Tum Tum Narin, will need to provide some veteran leadership and calm the nerves. Bridges will get his points, but if Michigan State needs a big bucket in a tight game, Izzo will be looking for Harris to make it.
The Spartans are small, so they’ll need Kenny Goings and freshman Nick Ward to rebound and control the paint against a bigger Arizona team.
Arizona Wins If …
… the Wildcats win the physical battle. They have plenty of athleticism as well, but they also have some size to throw around. Lauri Markkanen is a 6-foot-11 freshman who can stretch the floor but also can bang inside. Seven-footer Dusan Ristic and 6-foot-11 sophomore Chance Comanche also will challenge the Spartans inside, and winning the rebounding battle could go a long way with plenty of missed shots expected with these inexperienced players.
Matchup To Watch
Bridges vs. Arizona freshman Rawle Alkins
Alkins and Bridges have plenty of similarities. They both attack the rim aggressively, usually soaring above it, and can play multiple positions. Bridges is 6-foot-7, 230 pounds and Alkins stands 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, so there’s a good chance they’ll be locked in against each other on many trips up and down the floor. Given some of the injuries and issues for both teams, this game could come down to who gets the better of this matchup.
Spread: Michigan State -1
Michigan State vs. Arizona Prediction
Harris and Bridges go for 17 points apiece, Ward has a double-double and the Spartans pick up a quality early-season victory. The Wildcats realize how much they miss Trier’s scoring ability and shoot 37 percent.
Michigan State vs. Arizona final score prediction: Michigan State 77, Arizona 70