PORTLAND, Ore. – The Michigan State men’s basketball team heads back up this week to play the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore. The Spartans face No. 18-18 Alabama in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 24 (ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET).
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN, with Roxy Bernstein, Bill Walton and Myron Medcalf calling out all the action. The TCF Bank Spartan Media Network radio call can be heard on one of 38 affiliates and web at MSUSpartans.com, with Will Tieman providing play-by-play and Matt Steigenga serving as color analyst. The game can also be heard on channel 385 on SiriusXM and channel 975 on the SiriusXM app.
About the Spartans
- The Spartans return with nine letter winners from last year’s team, which finished 23-13 overall and 11-9 in the Big Ten and made the NCAA tournament for the 24th straight season.
- head coach Tom Izzo welcomes back five players who started at least one game last year and a trio of seniors – forwards Malik Hall and Joey Hauser, and guard Tyson Walker – who have played 290 games combined and started 189 games in their careers.
- In four games, Hauser leads the team with 14.0 points per game, shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from 3-point land… He’s one of three players to score in double digits.
- Walker, who scored 22 points in the Villanova win, is second on the team at 13.5 ppg while adding 3.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.
- Hall is third on the team with 12.0 ppg and third with 5.3 rpg… Four other players average at least 6.0 points.
- Junior guard AJ Hoggard is fourth on the team at 9.5 ppg, fourth at 4.5 rpg, and leads the team (and the Big Ten) with 8.3 assists per game.
- Junior forward Mady Sissoko, who had 16 points and eight rebounds in the win over Kentucky, averaged 8.8 points and leads the team with 6.5 rebounds.
- Sophomore guard Jaden Akins adds 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds while classmate Pierre Brooks averages 6.0 points and 1.3 rebounds.
The nation’s toughest November
- MSU opens its season with six of its first eight away games against one of its toughest schedules ever.
- The Spartans are expected to play six teams ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll.
- Since 2009-10, the Spartans have been one of six teams (including the 2016-17 Spartans) to face at least four AP ranked opponents in the month of November.
- MSU is the ONLY team to play two teams in the Top 4, with No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 11 (a 64-63 loss) and No. 4 Kentucky on Nov. 15 (an 86-77 doubles win in the extension).
Michigan State hangs on to beat Villanova, 73-71
- Michigan State took a 16-point lead in the second half and prevailed over Villanova in a Gavitt Tipoff game at the Breslin Center on Friday night for a 73-71 win.
- Senior guard Tyson Walker led the Spartans with 22, added five assists and three rebounds and led four players by double digits.
- Junior guard AJ Hoggard had a double-double with 13 points and tied his career-high 10 assists while leading the team with eight rebounds, graduate forward Joey Hauser scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two assists and senior forward Malik Hall added 12 points, two rebounds and two assists.
- Alabama enters the Phil Knight Invitational with a 4-0 record after a 104-62 win over Jacksonville State at home on Friday night.
- The Crimson Tide ranks 18th in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.
- In Friday night’s win over Jacksonville State, the Crimson Tide hit 21 three-pointers and the team averaged 11.0 shots from long range.
- Freshman Brandon Miller, who had their best season with 28 points, including 20 in the second half, leads the team with 20.3 points per game.
- Alabama ranks #1 in rebounds per game (56.0) and rebound margin (24.5) and #2 in defensive rebounds per game (36.5) nationally.
- Noah Clowney ranks 28th nationally for rebounds per game (10.7).
- Alabama has a young lineup with two freshmen (Miller and Clowney) and guards Rylan Griffen (10.3 ppg) and Jaden Bradley (8.8 ppg), each playing more than 20 minutes per game.
- When Michigan State and Alabama play the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday, November 24, it will be only the third meeting ever between the programs.
- The teams drew two games apart, with Alabama winning the first meeting in 1983 and the Spartans earning a 75-58 victory in the Pearl Harbor Classic championship game… Current MSU assistant coach Thomas Kelley played in that game.
- Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo is 1-0 all time against the Crimson Tide.