South Carolina Gamecocks at Michigan State Spartans
Tuesday, 11/16/10, 10:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Michigan State -15.5
Current Betting Line: Michigan State -16
South Carolina opened the season with a 94-79 home victory over Elon University and the level of competition rises greatly in playing its first road game against the Michigan State Spartans in the Breslin Center. The Gamecocks were led by Sam Muldrow, the team’s top returning scorer, netting 20 points in the Friday win. “I think the story of this game is what we hope is going to be the story of our team and our entire program moving forward,” said head coach Darrin Horn. The team was 2-9 in road contests last year and 5-6 away from Columbia during the 2008-09 campaign. In facing Michigan State, the squad will be taking on its highest ranked opponent on the road since traveling to No. 2 Kentucky on February 25, 2010. South Carolina will play 13 non-conference games, followed by 16 Southeastern Conference contests. The team is 10-10 ATS in non-conference games and the college basketball lines page has them listed as a double-digit underdog.
The Gamecocks are 5-7 in games against ranked opponents under the tutelage of head coach Darrin Horn, while he has amassed a 6-11 overall mark in such games. South Carolina will need some time to start learning to play with each other and under Horn’s guidance due to Muldrow being the only player that has been under his control for more than a year. With that lack of experience, the team has been picked to finish sixth in the SEC East preseason media poll, as just five letterwinners return for the 2010-11 campaign.
Michigan State is set to host the Gamecocks in the final game of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, featuring 24 straight hours of college hoops on the network. The Spartans opened with a 96-66 win over Eastern Michigan on Friday, holding the Eagles to 31.6 percent shooting, but the team has 20 turnovers and 14 missed free throws. “I don’t feel comfortable for where we are and where we need to be,” coach Tom Izzo stated. He may have trouble gaining his team’s focus in this late-night game, especially considering that the team leaves for the Maui Invitational afterwards. Michigan State has an all-time record of 86-25 in games played in the month of November. The team is 13-18 ATS at home the past three years.
The Spartans are proud to have the Big Ten preseason player of the year back in the lineup, with Kalin Lucas returning to action with 18 points on opening night. “He just has to get back to getting used to being on the court,” Izzo said. “It’s going to take time, but I was pleased.” Michigan State will likely walk off the court with a win tonight, considering the program is 209-26 at home under Izzo, including 48 consecutive non-conference wins at the Breslin Center. The team returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year’s Big Ten Championship and Final Four squad.
Bettors will find that the Gamecocks are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games overall, while the Spartans are 6-20-2 ATS in their last 28 Tuesday games.
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