Michigan State expects to have freshman Miles Bridges available for the first time in five weeks as it when it hosts Rutgers (11-4, 0-2 Big Ten) Wednesday night at the Breslin Center. The Spartans (10-5, 2-0) are shooting for their first 3-0 start in the Big Ten in three seasons.
Bridges hasn’t played since a 78-69 loss at Duke on Nov. 29. He leads the Spartans in scoring average (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.8), but will now have to assimilate back into the lineup. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Bridges would not start against Rutgers. How many minutes Bridges plays will be determined as the game progresses.
While Bridges has been out, fellow freshmen Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford have earned starting spots. Ward has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week the last two weeks and has scored in double figures nine straight games. Winston leads the Big Ten in assists (6.0) and is averaging 10.9 points, and 8.1 assists against 2.3 turnovers in his last seven games.
Rutgers is led by junior guard Mike Williams (12.1 ppg), while junior guard Nigel Johnson (11.9) and junior forward Deshawn Freeman (11.5) are also scoring in double figures.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to watch/listen to the Michigan State at Rutgers matchup:
Rutgers at Michigan State: game time, details
Time: 6:30 p.m. (ET) tip-off
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 4
Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing.
The line: Michigan State is favored by 13.5 points.
Which TV channel is Rutgers at Michigan State on?
The game will be broadcast on BTN.
How can I watch Rutgers at Michigan State online?
How can I listen to Rutgers at Michigan State on the radio?
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 Channel 145 and XM Channel 195.
Who is calling the Rutgers at Michigan State game?
Dave Revsine will handle play-by-play for BTN with analyst Jon Crispin. Will Tieman will call play-by-play with analysts Matt Steigenga and Gus Ganakas on the Spartan Sports Network.
Welcome back, Miles
Michigan State has figured out how to play without the talented freshman. Now it starts learning how to play with him again. He’ll come off the bench, which is appropriate since that’s where he’s been the last seven games, sitting next to Izzo and the coaching staff. The hope is that he gained a different perspective with that view, a perspective he can utilize on the court.
The last time Bridges played, he was everything to the Michigan State lineup. That’s not the case now. The Spartans are more balanced ,but the sooner Bridges gets back into playing shape, the better Michigan State will be.
Take Rutgers seriously
The first week of the Big Ten season has shown the conference to be better from the bottom up. Minnesota bounced back from its overtime loss to the Spartans by winning at Purdue, while Nebraska pulled off impressive road wins at Indiana and Maryland. While Rutgers has lost its first two conference games, the Scarlet Knights are improved from a season ago when they won just seven games. First-year coach Steve Pikiell’s team has lost three straight but is looking for a signature win, and he has seen what other teams who were at the bottom of the league standings last season have done. Michigan State can’t take any team for granted.
Hit the boards
Rutgers leads the Big Ten in defensive field goal percentage (37.5), while Michigan State is allowing opponents to make just 38.7 percent of their shots. Rutgers has a plus-9.4 rebounding margin this season. Dealing with a lack of depth and size inside has been an issue all season for Michigan State but the return of Bridges, even in a limited role, will help.