Michigan State and Illinois play at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 22.
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Date: Monday, Jan. 22
Location: State Farm Center, Champaign, Ill.
How can I watch the Michigan State-Illinois basketball game on TV and online?
Tim Brando and Bill Raftery will call the game.
How can I listen to the Michigan State-Illinois basketball game on the radio?
Michigan State and Illinois can be heard over the 38-affiliate Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit.
Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga will have the call.
Michigan State-Illinois basketball preview
In a wild college basketball season full of upset wins and shocking losses, one thing has remained constant: It’s not easy to win on the road.
The Big Ten has shown that. Apart from joint leaders Ohio State and Purdue, the conference is a combined 14-53 in true road games. Michigan State is the least tested, having only played two games in enemy territory and coming out at 1-1. That changes on Monday, when a road trip to Illinois kicks off a run full of road battles.
“You’ve never seen anything like that, have you?” Coach Tom Izzo said after the win on Friday. “Where seven of the last 11 [regular season games] are on the road? Our job is to get better every day so we can handle the road. What I liked about tonight; they shot [33.9] percent, [30.8 percent] from the 3. We out-rebounded them by 18. That’s all travel-worthy. That goes everywhere.
“I’m going to try my hardest to keep pushing that to these guys morning, noon and night, because when we’re moving the ball and we’re running it’s a fun team to watch.”
Illinois will test his team’s weaknesses. Michigan State, in part because it blocks so many shots, has often struggled with defensive rebounding. On the other side, the Illini rank No. 1 in the Big Ten with a 38.2 offensive rebounding percentage, 0.4 percent better than the second-place Spartans.
The Spartans’ main issue, at least in Izzo’s mind, has been turnovers. And on Monday, they’ll take on an Illinois team that forces 17.9 turnovers per game, ranking eighth in the nation and 54 spots above the closest Big Ten team, Rutgers. The Spartans must be careful not to let one poor play turn into more and more with the crowd against them.
“We’ve just got to focus and believe in our system,” sophomore big man Nick Ward plainly said.
After the win Friday, Michigan State feels it has its mojo back. And it’s high time. With the toughest stretch of a relatively easy conference slate still remaining, the Spartans sit two games behind both Ohio State and Purdue in the standings. The confidence needs to continue for them to inch toward that regular season title.