NCAA Men’s Basketball: Michigan State Spartans vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Possible Lineups and Predictions

Published 01/05/2021, 3:00 PM EST
Dec 29, 2020; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Jacob Young (42) drives to the basket as Purdue Boilermakers guard Eric Hunter Jr. (2) defends during the first half at Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


NCAA men’s basketball returns with a huge Big Ten Conference clash tonight. The Michigan State Spartans take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights a few days after snapping their losing streak.

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The Spartans started the season with a 6-0 run, which propelled them to the #4 rank in the AP Poll. But this was followed by an unexpected three-game losing streak. The Spartans crashed out of the top 25 but found their feet in their last game against Nebraska. It was a much-needed win, and they had to work for it.

The Scarlet Knights also started with a 6-0 run. This included wins against Maryland and Illinois, but then they lost two of their last three games. Rutgers fell to Iowa in their last game and gave a tough fight before falling short by two points.

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NCAA men’s basketball: Can the Spartans embark on a winning run?

Putting an end to a losing streak is tough, but the Spartans managed it. Their goal will now be to keep this momentum going in the upcoming games and begin a winning streak.

Coach Tom Izzo has played around with the Spartans’ lineup multiple times, but after finally getting a win, he is likely to stick to the same game plan. Joshua Langford, Aaron Henry, and A.J. Hoggard will start as the guards, while Joey Hauser and Thomas Kithier will start as the forwards for the Spartans.

Dec 25, 2020; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo talks to his players during action Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Mandatory Credit: Kirthmon F. Dozier-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering from a sprained ankle, Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer Ron Harper Jr was back in action last game. Although he couldn’t lead them to victory, he will be aiming to do so tonight.

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Their lineup will comprise Jacob Young, Geo Baker, and Montez Mathis as their guards, while Ron Harper Jr and Myles Johnson will be their forwards.

Dec 23, 2020; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Ron Harper Jr. (24) drives past Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kyle Young (25) during the first half at Value City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State may have got the win last time, but they are unlikely to repeat it. In four of their last five games, their opponents have scored over 40% from three. And Rutgers is the best three-point shooting team in their conference, so this will be a bad matchup for them. Although the Spartans are deeper, the Scarlet Knights are much stronger since the return of Harper Jr.

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The Scarlet Knights should be able to come through with a win unless the Spartans heavily improve on their perimeter defense.

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Aaron Mathew

1471 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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