12:03 pm
December 8

#10 Michigan State @ Florida

Who will WIN this matchup?

#10 Michigan State Spartans (7-2)

@ Florida Gators (5-3)


Current odds:

Michigan State Spartans: (TBD)

Florida Gators: (TBD)


•  The line for this game is Michigan State by 2.5 points.

• Michigan State goes after its third straight victory and eighth in nine games when it visits Florida for a non-conference contest on Saturday afternoon. The 10th-ranked Spartans are coming off a 90-68 rout of No. 19 Iowa on Monday, while the Gators have won two straight – including a 66-56 win over West Virginia in New York City on Tuesday. Michigan State features one of the most dynamic backcourts in the country, with juniors Joshua Langford (17.1 points) and Cassius Winston (16.8 points, 7.7 assists) ranking 1-2 in scoring for coach Tom Izzo. Another junior, 6-8 forward Nick Ward, is also force in the paint while averaging 15.9 points and six rebounds – coming off a perfect 10-of-10 shooting night for a career-best 26 points against Iowa.

• The Gators have an extremely balanced offense, with eight players averaging between six and senior guard KeVaughn Allen’s team-high 10 points per game. Sophomore guard Deaundrae Ballard hasn’t started a game this season and is averaging just 17.6 minutes a game, but ranks second on the team in scoring at 9.9 per contest.

• Replacing the scoring and rebounding numbers of NBA lottery picks Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges was supposed to be difficult for Izzo, but the Spartans’ frontcourt has been extremely productive this season. Ward has been his usual solid scoring force on the interior for the Spartans, while forwards Kenny Goins (7.0 points, 10.4 rebounds) and Xavier Tillman have both emerged as scoring threats as well. Goins, a senior, had a career-high 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out seven assists in the win over Iowa, while Tillman, a 6-8 sophomore who is usually the first big man off the bench, is averaging 7.8 points – including a career-best 14 against the Hawkeyes.

• As the Gators continue to struggle offensively, coach Mike White is pushing Allen to be more aggressive with the ball, and that worked against West Virginia. Allen finished with a game-high 19 points, which included getting to the foul line nine times, and Florida was able to beat the defensive-minded Mountaineers. Allen, who averaged at least 11 points in each of his first three seasons with the Gators, also leads by example when he’s aggressive, drawing defensive attention that helps open up opportunities for his teammates.

• With 12 assists against Iowa, Winston passed Magic Johnson for ninth place on the Spartans’ all-time list.

 Florida is hitting just 63.9 percent from the free-throw line this season, though the Gators were 9-of-10 from the line in the final 1:35 of the win over West Virginia.

• Michigan State leads the all-time series 4-3, though the Spartans likely remember their first win over the Gators – in the 2000 national championship game – the most.

StreakSmarter Pick
#10 Michigan State Spartans