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Michigan State basketball: 3 keys to beating Indiana State

What does MSU need to win?

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© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball faces one of the best mid-majors in the nation on Saturday. Here’s what MSU needs to do.

Michigan State basketball welcomes the Indiana State Sycamores to East Lansing in their non-conference finale on Saturday. MSU has a chance to extend its winning streak to four and add another Quad 1 win to its resume.

Here are my three keys to Saturday afternoon’s matchup that will help MSU keep its momentum rolling.

1. Defend, defend, defend

Indiana State has one of the most efficient offenses in all of college basketball. So elite, team defense will be the most important thing on Saturday for MSU.

The Sycamores are averaging 88 points per game this season, which is No. 7 in the country. Indiana State is also an extremely efficient shooting team, both overall and from 3-point range. Their field goal percentage for the year is a blistering 52.4% which is No. 3 in the country and their 3-point shooting percentage is just as impressive at 41.3%. That’s good enough for No. 5 in the country.

The Spartans are in trouble if Indiana State shoots the ball this well on Saturday. I’m also not confident we win if they hit their 88-point average either. So extra attention needs to be given on the defensive end of the floor in this game.

2. Get out and run

Michigan State basketball is always at their best when they get out and run in transition. That is no different this season. We do have the ability to be effective in our half-court offense, but our strength is our transition game.

AJ Hoggard is most effective when he gets downhill and attacks the rim. The best way for him to do that is to beat the defense down the floor. If AJ can get that going early, that then will open up a lot of kick-out shots for our guards.

Our bigs also can be good in transition at times as well. We don’t have the most effective post-up players in the world, so running the floor well can make them more effective. Mady Sissoko and Carson Cooper need to get early position on their defender. Doing that will make it that much easier when they do get the ball in the post.

3. Dominate the glass

Neither MSU nor Indiana State are good rebounding teams. Both teams are averaging a +1 rebounding margin on the season, which isn’t great. MSU needs to be a much better rebounding team, especially heading into Big Ten play.

Good defensive rebounding will be the most important as that will help the Spartans defend against Indiana State’s elite shooters. Michigan State needs to take advantage of the misses they do have, if we don’t Indiana State is good enough to take advantage of any second-chance opportunities they get. So good rebounding will only help slow down their explosive offensive attack even more.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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