Michigan State vs. Florida: How to watch, live stream, TV channel, prediction, pick, line, odds, spread
The Gators have a huge opportunity to boost their resume at home vs. the No. 10 Spartans
NEW YORK -- Mike White, four years into his gig at Florida, was showing some bewildered satisfaction.
On Tuesday night, following Florida's borderline-needed 66-56 win over West Virginia at Madison Square Garden, White spoke to CBS Sports about his team's evolving identity. He was happy to get the win, but things are still not close to where they need to be with this group. A month into the season, the Gators are not a good offensive team; they're worse than White expected, no question. If it hasn't clicked yet, when will it?
Florida is average from 2-point range, shooting 51.5 percent inside the 3-point arc, and hitting 35.3 percent of its treys. The Gators, on the whole, were certainly better on O last season. UF, which was really defense-first by the of 2017-18, still put up 76 points per game. This year's Gators are clipping at 71 points per game and are still searching for someone to step in and help senior guard KeVaughn Allen boost the club.
As I note in Jalen Hudson is mysteriously ineffective. He logged just six minutes in the West Virginia game. White told me that his struggles have baffled the coaching staff. His individual plus-minus statistics exacerbate the issue. Without Hudson contributing, there's a big opening -- and hopefully not a lingering void., senior
Can Hudson get right vs. No. 10 Michigan State? It's a key plot point for the Gators in advance of Saturday's game on CBS on Saturday afternoon.
Off the court, MSU is licking its wounds after missing out on the No. 2 player in the class of 2019. Who got him?
But this year's Spartans team is trying to establish itself, if not maintain its credibility, as the best team in the Big Ten. The in-state rivals over in Ann Arbor, Michigan are currently ranked higher, undefeated, and have looked better. Winning a road test here would close the gap.
If Michigan State's going to win, Cassius Winston's going to probably have to play with a combination of styles over his previous two games. Against Rutgers on Nov. 30, Winston had 22 points. Against Iowa on Monday, he went for 12 assists and just eight points. Winston's MSU's most important player. He's averaging 16.8 points and 7.7 assists. Good numbers. Saturday could be his notice-me-now game if MSU wins and he commands the offense.
Michigan State's 3-point offense vs. Florida's athletic, perimeter defense is a what-to-watch-for. The Spartans are hitting 40.5 percent of their 3-pointers, which is a terrific clip. It's not likely they'll be able to maintain that rate in a road environment against a power-conference team.
Florida's got a morale-boosting guy in Allen -- but the emergence of freshman point guard Andrew Nembhard has helped UF remain under control on offense. White told me he's never had a roster comprised like this one before. A lot of roles are still not yet defined and the minutes are up for grabs.
The Gators were projected by some in the preseason to be a top-25 team. That's not the case right now. If they win over Sparty on Saturday, then it's a real conversation. Keep an eye on how Florida chooses to attack MSU. This isn't a group that wants to shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Does that gameplan change on Saturday?
Plus, the O'Connell Center is not as intimidating a place as it once was. Florida has lost nine games at home since the 2015-16 season.
Game prediction, pick
Sportsline odds: Michigan State -2
Heading into this one, it seems like Michigan State is set up for the win, right? Sparty has the better team, better record, better offense and its only losses have come on a neutral court to Kansas and at Louisville in overtime. But I'll take Florida because I expect the Gators' grind-it-out defense to keep it close almost the entire afternoon. And there's one player who I haven't mentioned yet that figures to match up well with MSU's bigs: Kevarrius Hayes. The 6-9 senior is one of the best offensive rebounders in the country -- and a formidable shot-blocker. He's the X-factor. Florida 68, Michigan 66.
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