The Boston College Eagles will be taking on the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans Thanksgiving evening. We sat down with The Only Colors basketball writer Matt McIntyre to discuss the Spartans.
Boston College Interruption: Danzel Valentine had a pretty big game against Kansas. How dangerous of a threat is he?
The Only Colors: Denzel Valentine is probably one of the more versatile players in college basketball, and his best asset is his vision and passing ability to go along with it. He's the go-to guy, just about everything goes through him when he's in, and he will have his ball in his hands more than anyone else on MSU's roster. He's had at least 7 assists in every game and is a outside shooting threat as well as he shot better than 40% from 3 last year.
BCI: What type of style of play should we expect to see from Michigan State?
TOC: MSU likes to get out and run in transition and find open shooters on the wings (Matt McQuaid, Bryn Forbes, and Eron Harris). They're #1 nationally in assist percentage so there's very little isolation basketball when Michigan State is on offense. They're a very good rebounding team on both ends and they have a shot-blocking freshman in Deyonta Davis who's averaging 3.5 blocks per game. On defense it's man-to-man and MSU doesn't force steals but is still performing well on the defensive end.
BCI: I look at MSU's schedule and see a lot of high scoring games. Is that just indicative of the teams played, or is that a fair representation?
TOC: A decent amount of it is due to their competition as FAU and Arkansas Pine-Bluff are bad teams while the slightly better Eastern Michigan played a 2-3 zone which plays into MSU's strength on offense of moving the ball and shooting 3's. MSU scored 79 on Kansas but that was during a pretty fast game at 74 possessions. They're a very good offensive team but scoring in the high 80's or 90's won't be the norm.
BCI: What are you expecting from Thursday?
TOC: I expect MSU to win. Boston College hasn't played particularly good teams as Harvard was their best opponent but they're probably down relative to their past couple years. Eli Carter averages over 18 points per game but he's not particularly efficient when scoring. Boston College will be MSU's best opponent so far outside of Kansas but I do think this MSU team has a good understanding of player roles early on and enough weapons on offense that BC won't be too much of threat. I'll go MSU 78, BC 65.
Thanks Matt for sitting down with us.