Different Looking Matchup This Time Around
The last time Illinois and Michigan State got together in Champaign in mid-January the two teams were not quite the same then as they will be when they meet Saturday afternoon in East Lansing.
For one thing, Coach Tom Izzo will have his full roster available to him today for the first time in two months. Adrian Payne, Keith Appling, Brendan Dawson and Gary Harris have all missed games this year due to injuries of one type or another. The Spartans have started 14 different lineups this year but still have contended for the Big Ten title all season long.
Meanwhile since that first meeting, the Illini have changed their starting lineup, going with freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill moving in as starters. Since that change was made at Penn State , the Illini have gone 3-2 with road wins in Happy Valley and in Minneapolis and a home win over Nebraska.
Nunn and Hill have performed well in their new roles as they have combined to average over 15 points a game scoring and are shooting over 50 percent as a duo. They have also helped the Illini defense tighten things up so much that Illinois has held 3 straight opponents to less than 50 points. That is the first time that has happened for any Illini team since 1947.
The Illini are feeling good about themselves after 2 straight wins. MSU has had a week to lick its wounds after a loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Should make for an interesting matchup this afternoon in East Lansing.
Dont know what is going to happen today. But both teams look a little different as we start the always exciting month of March.
Talk to you later!