Don’t expect the Thursday night matchup between Nebraska (12-14, 6-8 Big Ten) and Michigan State (16-11, 8-6) to look at all like the last one.
When the two teams met on Feb. 2 at Nebraska’s Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Spartans prevailed 72-61. Five players finished in double figures for Michigan State. The Huskers shot 38.5 percent from the field. The Spartans led for the final 33 minutes of the game.
It might seem that this time, in a home environment, Michigan State has an even bigger advantage. Tom Izzo’s squad has not won any other games on the road in 2017. It has lost once in East Lansing during that time.
On the other hand, Nebraska meets the Spartans with an additional player. Sophomore Ed Morrow has returned from a foot injury and seems to be hitting his stride. He posted 10 points and 6 rebounds in a win against Ohio State on Saturday. Morrow’s presence could make a big difference.
Conversely, Michigan State will be without Eron Harris for the first time after he suffered a season-ending right knee injury late in the Spartans’ 80-63 loss to Purdue on Saturday.
The Breslin Center will be covered in green. The Spartans will wear the color, and they want fans to do the same.
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) February 21, 2017
Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State game time, details
Time: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT
Date: Thursday, Feb. 23
Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.
Which TV channel broadcasts Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State?
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
How can I watch Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State online?
How can I listen to Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State 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 Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State game?
Kevin Brown will handle play-by-play for ESPN, with Adrian Branch providing analysis. Will Tieman handles play-by-play, with analysts Matt Steigenga and Gus Ganakas on the Spartan Sports Network.
Nebraska basketball vs. Michigan State keys
Nebraska basketball keys to the game
1. Get four players in double digits
Nebraska’s going to get about 35 to 40 points out of sophomore Glynn Watson Jr. and senior Tai Webster every game. That’s a given. What Nebraska needs is at least 20 points out of two other players on the floor. Recently, that’s come from Jack McVeigh, Jordy Tshimanga or Morrow. Down the stretch, Nebraska needs to consistently get at least 20 combined points out of two of those guys.
2. Defend the perimeter
Nebraska’s gotten marginally better at putting pressure on shooters beyond the arc, but Michigan State canned 11 3-pointers when these two teams last played. Nebraska has to get out on shooters and rebound long misses.
Michigan State basketball keys to the game
1. Give Miles Bridges some help
Michigan State has relied heavily on its freshman superstar to be a creator this season. With Harris out for the rest of the season with the knee injury, things will only get worse if the Spartans aren’t careful. They need aggressive play from Josh Langford and Alvin Ellis III to create not just for themselves but for teammates.
2. Limit turnovers
This will continue to be a talking point until Michigan State takes care of it. Even in games they’ve won, the Spartans have created some nervy finishes because of their inability to take care of the ball. Nebraska averages 7 steals per game, so the home team will need to be especially careful. Aggressive perimeter defenses have caused Izzo & Co. trouble.