Michigan State basketball

© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball: 3 fearless predictions for opener vs. Northern Arizona

Michigan State basketball officially opens the season on Monday evening against Northern Arizona. Let’s dive into some predictions.

Admit it, you were about ready to declare football season dead and move fully on to Michigan State basketball the second Payton Thorne threw that pick in the first minute of Saturday’s game at Illinois. I know I was right there with you.

But the Spartans got it done and upset No. 16 Illinois on the road which makes Monday’s basketball opener against Northern Arizona all that much sweeter.

This is like the cherry on top of a great week of Spartan sports and now we just have to hope for a successful basketball season. Getting off on the right foot against a Northern Arizona team that finished 9-23 a year ago would be a nice start.

Alright, it’s time for some spicy predictions

1. Mady Sissoko double-double

I’m just going to come out and admit this: I’m firmly driving the Mady Sissoko bandwagon. A lot of fans were ready to give up on the big man after two quiet years but now that he has to step up and the opportunity is staring him in the face, I think he rises to the occasion.

Northern Arizona returns two guys who averaged over 5.0 rebounds per game last year, including Carson Towt who averaged 8.8, but I think Mady makes a statement and grabs 11.

On top of that, he’ll catch some lobs and hit a couple of nice back-to-the-basket shots to finish with 10 points as well. A nice double-double to start the season for Mady.

2. Six players score in double figures

The difference between this year and last year is the fact that we probably won’t have any runaway leading scorers. Last year, Gabe Brown had games in which he went absolutely nuclear and the same could be said for Malik Hall, Max Christie, and Tyson Walker, but this team is going to have a balanced attack.

In the exhibition game, Michigan State saw all five starters score 10-plus points and I think the Spartans will do one better against the Lumberjacks with one guy off the bench scoring 10.

All five starters (assuming no Jaden Akins) will reach 10 and so will Pierre Brooks.

3. Michigan State covers -21.5

If I was going to bet on this game (I’m not), I’d throw my money on Michigan State to cover the -21.5 spread. Northern Arizona returns a lot of guys but the Lumberjacks went just 9-23 last year.

Michigan State has four of its top seven scorers back and Sissoko looked solid in the exhibition game. The Spartans’ backcourt will be the difference in this one en route to a 22-plus point win in a rocking Breslin Center.

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