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With No Izzo On The Bench, Michigan State Hosts Prairie View

(Preview from The Sports Network)

GAME NOTES: The 14th-ranked Michigan State Spartans are heavily favored in tonight's non-conference matchup with the Prairie View Panthers.

Prairie View is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and has played a tough non-conference schedule. The team has suffered back-to-back losses, including an 87-63 setback to Texas A&M on December 8th. That was the most recent outing for the Panthers, so they should be well rested this evening.

As for Michigan State, it has won two of its last three games to move to 7-3 overall, including 4-0 at home. The Spartans have been idle since last weekend when they barely got past Oakland by a 77-76 final. The only losses to date have come against Duke, UConn and Syracuse, three of the nation's truly elite teams. As usual, Michigan State is expected to challenge for the Big Ten Conference title this season.

The Spartans will play this game without the services of head coach Tom Izzo, who has been suspended for one game for a secondary violation of NCAA rules the program committed last summer.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Michigan State and Prairie View on the hardwood.

Trant Simpson and Brandon Webb scored 11 points apiece for Prairie View A&M in the ugly loss to Texas A&M last time out, and Michael Griffin pitched in 10 points off the bench. The Panthers connected on only 36.9 percent of their field goal attempts, including a 31 percent effort from three-point range, and they were outscored 16-6 from the foul line. Prairie View was dominated on the boards by a 46-35 margin, another contributing factor in the setback. Overall this season, Simpson is scoring a team-high 12.1 ppg, but he is shooting just 35.5 percent from the floor. The Panthers are generating only 65.4 ppg while permitting 81.2 ppg.

Kalin Lucas is averaging 15.2 ppg for Michigan State, which is netting 76.4 ppg while allowing 68.0 ppg opponents on 40.1 percent shooting from the floor. Durrell Summers checks in with 14.6 ppg on the strength of his 42 percent accuracy from three-point range, and Draymond Green provides 12.7 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Lucas posted 25 points and five assists in the victory over Oakland last weekend. Summers and Keith Apling posted 12 points apiece, and Draymond Green netted 11 points and five assists. The Spartans turned the ball over only eight times and earned a 21-11 edge in points from the foul line, the two most obvious reasons for the win.

Michigan State is one of the more solid teams in the country, and while the Spartans may have been a bit overrated early on, this group will do its best work in March. There is no doubt that this game will result in a lopsided victory, and the Spartans could get on a roll in the coming weeks.

GAME NOTES: The 14th-ranked Michigan State Spartans are heavily favored in tonight's non-conference matchup with the Prairie View Panthers.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Breslin Center (14,759) -- East Lansing, Michigan. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Prairie View 2-0, Michigan St. 4-0. Away Record: Prairie View 0-7, Michigan St. 0-1. Neutral Record: Prairie View 0-2, Michigan St. 3-2. Conference Record: Prairie View 0-0, Michigan St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

Michigan State 85, Prairie View 53