What would the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals be without Michigan State?
With a 78-51 win against Penn State on Thursday, the Spartans got there once again. The 20-year history of the conference tournament has seen them advance to the quarterfinals — you guessed it — 20 times.
Minnesota, conversely, will get its first taste of the quarters in three years when it takes the court in Washington, D.C., at the Verizon Center on Friday against Michigan State. This time, the Gophers didn’t even have to play their way into it. Big Ten Coach of the Year Richard Pitino led them to an 11-7 conference record and double-bye with a fourth-place finish — their highest seed ever in the tournament.
Two of those losses, though, came against Michigan State. However, these two teams haven’t seen each other since Jan. 11, so the familiarity has likely worn off a bit.
Here’s how you can watch and listen to Michigan State and Minnesota doing battle.
MSU's defense played a major role in today’s 78-51 victory over PSU. The Spartans will play Minnesota tomorrow at approx. 2:30 p.m. on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/5SbYWYnprc
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) March 9, 2017
Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota game time, details
Time: 25 minutes after Michigan-Purdue; approximately 2:30 p.m. ET
Date: Friday, March 10
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Which TV channel broadcasts Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota?
The game airs on ESPN.
How can I watch Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota online?
How can I listen to Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota on the radio?
For Michigan State, the game can be heard on radio 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. It is also on Sirius 135/XM 195.
Who is calling the Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota game?
Dave Flemming will handle play-by-play for ESPN, while Dan Dakich will provide analysis. Will Tieman will handle play-by-play alongside analyst Matt Steigenga on the Spartan Sports Network.
Michigan State basketball vs. Minnesota three keys
Control the tempo
Per TeamRankings.com, Minnesota averages 74.9 possessions per game. Michigan State averages 69.9. Tom Izzo’s Spartans team, as he has stated, has become a “grind-it-out” group, while the Gophers like the push the pace. Especially coming off of a game the day before, Michigan State must make sure not to let the game speed up too much. If Minnesota plays at the speed it wants, it could quickly turn a run into a hefty deficit for the Spartans. The key to controlling the outcome will be controlling the pace.
Move the ball
Against Penn State, Michigan State did as well a job as it has all season of swinging the ball around the perimeter, into the paint and back out again, finding backdoor cutters as well as driving and kicking. That needs to continue against Minnesota, a squad that leads the Big Ten in blocks (7.0 per game) and 3-point shooting defense (30.8 percent) by a significant margin. Going 1-on-1 against this team won’t get the job done. The Spartans must trust their teammates and keep the rock moving.
Get some scoring help from the elders
It’s become clear that at least three out of Michigan State freshmen Miles Bridges, Josh Langford, Nick Ward and Cassius Winston will make large contributions to the offense on any given night. But to make a run in the conference tournament, others will have to contribute. Maybe it’s Matt McQuaid continuing to hit transition 3s. Or Alvin Ellis III spotting up and letting fly. Or Tum Tum Nairn using his speed to get easy layups before the defense is set.