It’s game day for both the Michigan State men’s and women’s basketball teams.
MSU’s men host Illinois at 7 p.m. (ESPN) at Breslin Center, while the Spartan women take on Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena at 8 p.m. (WJIM 1240-AM).
Today’s contest begins a stretch of two straight games at home for Tom Izzo’s team, which played five of its eight Big Ten games on the road.
“I think we’re in for a dangerous week because its the first time that we’ve lost in awhile,” Izzo said. “Two, I think Illinois is about as dangerous as a team you can play. In 12 games they’ve shot in the high 40s from the 3. For seven games in the Big Ten they’re averaging 20 some percent from the 3. It would be different if they just did it for a couple games in the non-conference but they did it almost the entire non-conference where they made 3 after 3 after 3.
“Who knows why that thing has dropped so much but they’ve proven over a period of time that they’re capable 3-point shooters. They play a lot of four-guard lineups, they have a lot of guys that can handle the ball, penetrate and make shots.”
In its 15 wins this season, Illinois is shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range. In the six losses, the Illini connected on just 22.5 percent from deep.
Illinois enters tonight’s game having lost four of five since beating Ohio State at home in its second Big Ten contest.
The Spartans have lost eight of the last 15 meetings against Illinois but dropped last year’s contest 42-41 in Champaign. Today’s contest is the only regular-season meeting between the MSU and Illinois.
MSU’s women’s team is riding its first losing streak of the season after suffering losses to Nebraska last Thursday and Purdue in overtime on Sunday.
The Spartans have won 17 straight over the Wildcats dating back to 2003. They hope to continue that success and get back on track.
“It’s huge. We went from being 4-1 in the Big Ten to 4-3 in a week,” MSU sophomore Becca Mills said. “We don’t want to be 4-4. We want to keep pushing forward, get some Ws and to contend for the top couple places in the league now. This is a game we have to win on the road so we have to go in there and play our game and play hard.”
Here is the MSU-Northwestern tipoff. And there’s also a story about Kiana Johnson and how she is prepared to take charge if needed for the Spartans.