The early-season gauntlet will continue for the Michigan State Spartans when they face the Villanova Wildcats Friday at home in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
The Spartans have surprised people not only with their early results but also with their play and should vault into and up the next national rankings.
Tom Izzo’s team rebounded from a one-point loss to No. 2 Gonzaga, a game it controlled most of the way, with an overtime victory Tuesday over No.4 Kentucky. Now comes the first meeting in East Lansing with the Wildcats, who are regrouping in their first season under Kyle Neptune, who took over for longtime coach Jay Wright.
The Wildcats are young and missing a few key pieces, which has shown in the early going as they struggled against the likes of Temple and Delaware State.
Neptune’s team fell to Temple, a team it had beaten seven straight times by an average margin of 18 points, and couldn’t get a 3-pointer to fall in the first half of a victory over Delaware State, a team that won two games last season.
“We’re a young team. We’re a work in progress,” Neptune told the media. “When you’re making shots, it’s easy. When you’re not making shots, you’ve got to band together and come together to grind it out. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Sissoko Enjoys Breakout for Spartans
Mady Sissoko has easily been the surprise of the early part of the season for the Spartans, going from a little-used backup to one of the top players on the team.
The 6-9 center from Mali scored a grand total of 60 points in his first two seasons with the Spartans but already has 34 this season to go along with 23 rebounds.
Sissoko, who has 30 points and 17 rebounds in the last two games combined, leads the Michigan State regulars in field goal percentage (64.7%). He even threw in a couple of assists and three steals in the win over Kentucky, but foul trouble could be an issue.
“He did a hell of a job. The guys were so happy for him and so am I,” head coach Tom Izzo said of Sissoko, who he stuck with instead of grabbing a center on the portal.
Veterans Leading Wildcats
The Wildcats will be a better team when they get preseason Big East Freshman of the Year Cam Whitmore back from thumb surgery, but for now, they are relying on three veterans, a pair of second-year players, and a handful of other freshmen.
Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniels took leading roles for Neptune in the early going. Dixon has gotten off to a strong start in his second season as a starter, doubling his scoring output to 18.3 points per game thanks to some solid shooting numbers.
Daniels, who has scored 1,334 points in his career between Tulane and Villanova, came off the bench last season in all but three games, but he has been locked in as a starter at one of the guard spots and led the team in scoring in each of the first two games.
Villanova is No. 2 in the country in free throw shooting (86.54%).
Villanova vs Michigan State Game Injuries
Villanova vs Michigan State Head-to-Head
The Wildcats and the Spartans haven’t played since meeting in the Great Alaska Shootout in 2002, a game won by Villanova, which has a 3-1 lead in the series.
Villanova vs Michigan State Game Information
- Game: Villanova (2-1) vs Michigan State (2-1)
- Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI
- Day/Time: Friday, November 18th, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Villanova vs Michigan State Live Stream: TBS.com
Villanova vs Michigan State Betting Lines
Villanova vs Michigan State Picks & Prediction
The Spartans are favored by six and a half points on the NCAAB lines. Michigan State is 2-1 against the spread this season, while Villanova is 0-3.
The Michigan State Spartans are listed at -275 in our Vegas NCAAB lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Spartans, you have a chance to win $36. The Villanova Wildcats are +225, offering a chance to win $225 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Michigan State a 73.33% chance to win, with Villanova 30.77%.