Michigan State basketball

© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball: 3 fearless predictions vs. No. 4 Kentucky

Michigan State basketball plays in the annual Champions Classic on Tuesday night against Kentucky. Will we see an upset?

Sitting at 1-1 on the season with a one-point loss to No. 2 Gonzaga, Michigan State basketball is hungry to prove itself worthy of a spot in the AP Top 25 yet again.

The Spartans will get that opportunity on Tuesday night against No. 4 Kentucky and a win would undoubtedly put Michigan State in a spot to potentially start the season 3-1 with wins over the Wildcats and Villanova (on Friday night). In my opinion, Michigan State is better than its record and some ranked teams will find out this week.

John Calipari is likely to play injured star Oscar Tshiebwe but how much? We’ll see what Mady Sissoko is made of on Tuesday night.

Let’s dive into some predictions for Tuesday’s Champions Classic matchup.

1. Joey Hauser bounces back

I think we can all admit that Joey Hauser’s performance drove us all mad on Friday night. He struggled mightily against Gonzaga, scoring two points, getting manhandled in the post, and fouling out. Joey would be the first to tell you that his performance was unacceptable.

Even if Michigan State got an average Joey, the Spartans beat the Zags. Unfortunately, the Spartans got a mediocre Joey, at best.

I don’t think we’re going to see another double-double from him like we saw in the opener, but he’ll finish with around 10 points and six rebounds with a couple of big threes.

2. AJ Hoggard will have a double-double

We almost saw AJ Hoggard approach a double-double against Gonzaga a few days ago, scoring 12 points with six assists and I think if he wasn’t playing outside, he would have gotten it. You have to realize that open shots weren’t being taken as often because of the wind.

Hoggard also almost had a double-double in the opener with nine points and eight assists.

He’s due. Hoggard will finish the Kentucky game with 13 points and 10 assists to lead the Spartans. When he’s on, Michigan State is tough to beat.

3. Michigan State covers

Do I think the Spartans win here? I think Michigan State has a good chance of pulling off the upset, especially if Tshiebwe is on somewhat of a ‘pitch count’ but I do believe that the Spartans will cover.

If Michigan State played like it did against Gonzaga and improves on the shooting (which is likely because they’re not worrying about the wind), it should give Kentucky a run for its money.

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