The Michigan State Spartans have struggled as of late, losing three of their past five games after starting the season 19-1. During this woeful stretch, the team has battled adversity in the form of injuries to Adreian Payne (foot), Branden Dawson (hand) and Keith Appling (wrist). Luckily for the Spartans, Payne is back and stronger than ever, scoring 24 points in 32 minutes in a heartbreaking loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday. That game also saw possibly the worst game in Gary Harris’ career as he managed to put up only six points on 3-for-20 shooting from the field.
The Spartans may find their remedy to get back on the winning track as they take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Thursday night in East Lansing.
Northwestern has a record of 12-12 (5-6 Big Ten) but has been improving as of late, winning on the road at Wisconsin and against the Minnesota Gophers. They also recently lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers at home, however, who are one of the Big Ten’s bottom teams.
The last time these two teams met was on Jan. 15 where the Spartans walked out of Evanston with a 14-point win. Michigan State won that game fairly easily without Payne, who will be available for Thursday’s contest. They also had Dawson and Appling healthy for the last game, but they will be without their services against the Wildcats this time around.
Look for the Spartans to come out strong on Thursday night as they try and release their frustration after falling to the Badgers on Sunday.