Gophers-Michigan State game preview
- February 5, 2013 - 11:00 PM
Gophers at a glance: No. 18 Minnesota (17-5, 5-4 Big Ten) is hoping to maintain its momentum and sweep the season series with Michigan State in the process. The Gophers beat the Spartans 76-63 in the Big Ten opener, closing the game with a 12-0 run. The recent history of the series is hardly even, however, with the Spartans winning 12 of the past 14 games, including both last season. Minnesota is working its way back to where it wants to be, winning consecutive games over Nebraska and Iowa after four losses in a row. The Gophers -- who have struggled to get production from the bench, which has twice gone scoreless in Big Ten play-- outlasted Iowa 62-59 on Sunday, getting 17 points and five rebounds from Austin Hollins, who made the go-ahead three-pointer with 11.6 seconds to play.
Michigan State at a glance: The No. 12 Spartans (18-4, 7-2) have a chip on their shoulder after losing at Minnesota, and considering that Michigan State is playing its best basketball of the season -- a 75-70 loss to Indiana on Jan. 27 is MSU's only blemish in the past eight games -- it's a good time for a rematch. Keith Appling leads the Spartans in scoring (14 points per game) and assists (4.2), and the junior guard is coming off a 24-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist game in an 80-75 victory over Illinois. Sophomore guard Travis Trice and guard Gary Harris (who is averaging 13.3 points in Big Ten play, leading all conference freshmen) are both questionable for Wednesday's game. Harris has been suffering back spasms and Trice needs to be cleared after hitting his head during Thursday's game against the Illini.
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