After winning the Maui Invitational Championships, No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans tonight at MSU. The Fighting Irish will battle to keep their undefeated season going, giving themselves their 7th win.
Notre Dame’s Previous Success
The Irish have won all six of their games so far. Other than their one-point win against Wichita State, Notre Dame has blown out every team that they have played so far. In each game, though, Notre Dame seems to be lethargic within the first half. Michigan State is currently ranked even higher than Wichita State was before they lost to Notre Dame. To capture this win, Notre Dame is going to have to have very energetic play throughout the game. Waiting until the second half is a dangerous scenario for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame needs to continue their aggressive defense, but their offensive game is going to need to be elevated even more to defeat Michigan State. Against Wichita State, Notre Dame trailed Wichita State the entire game until the very end. It is doubtful that Michigan State will let Notre Dame MBB come back from a 15+ point deficit. To compete with this, Notre Dame will have to at least stay within a reasonable number, even if their first half is not their best performance.
Key Players Need to Continue Their Game Performance
Captains Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell have played outstanding in each game. Together, they dominated not only the offensive game but the defensive side of the ball as well. They have continually aided Notre Dame to the win in all six games. To defeat MSU, Colson and Farrell will have to work together just like they have been. These two are leaders on the court and help both sides of the ball run more smoothly.
T.J. Gibbs has had quite a few excellent offensive games for Notre Dame. If Gibbs has a solid performance once again, his points along with Colson and Farrell’s could give the Irish the boost that they need. Rex Pflueger will have to continue his defensive game to defeat Michigan State as well.
MSU Hungry for Win
Michigan State is currently 5-1; their only loss was from No. 1 Duke. MSU only lost to Duke by seven points, so they are going to put up a fight against the Irish. The only close game so far for Michigan State was the loss to Duke. Their wins have been blowouts as well, just like Notre Dame’s have been.
In their last game against UNC, the Spartans’ Joshua Langford scored 23 points. Notre Dame MBB will have to shut Langford down, as well as Jaren Jackson Jr. and Cassius Winston, who are consistent scorers for MSU. Across the six games, MSU has had a multitude of different offensive options, and many different players have played key roles in the Spartans’ victories throughout the season.
Stay tuned for more information throughout the game at @ISC_ND, @ZSwoboda_ISC, and @PlummerMason on Twitter.