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No. 7 Michigan State Faces No. 8 Syracuse In Jimmy V Classic

(Preview from The Sports Network)

GAME NOTES: Madison Square Garden is the site of tonight's non-conference showdown between the seventh-ranked Michigan State Spartans and the eighth- ranked Syracuse Orange. The game is part of the Jimmy V Classic.

Michigan State has already suffered two losses this season, but it is important to point out that the setbacks have come against top-ranked Duke and a UConn team that is far better than anticipated. The Spartans have currently won three of their last four outings to move to 6-2 overall, and they are coming off Saturday's 74-39 thrashing of Bowling Green. Tom Izzo is once again equipped with enough talent to make a run at the Final Four, something he seems to do annually.

As for Syracuse, it is led by head coach Jim Boeheim, one of the winningest program leaders in the history of the sport. Boeheim is undoubtedly happy with the way that things have gone thus far for his squad, as the Orange has won all eight of their games to date. On Saturday, they knocked off NC State by a 65-59 final, and the Orange won't play their first true road game of the season until January 8th.

Syracuse holds a narrow 9-7 advantage over Michigan State, which includes three consecutive victories over the Spartans. The most recent matchup took place in 2004.

Through eight contests, Syracuse is generating 78.6 ppg on 49 percent shooting from the floor, and the team is permitting 66.5 ppg on 38.8 percent field goal efficiency by opponents. Kalin Lucas entered this season widely regarded as the top returnee in the Big Ten Conference, and the standout guard currently paces the Spartans with 14.9 ppg. Durrell Summers is close behind with 14.5 ppg, and Draymond Green contributes 13.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Summers paced a balanced attack with 14 points in the romp over Bowling Green on Saturday. Delvon Roe was the only other starter to reach double figures in scoring with his 10 points. The Spartans connected on only 29.6 percent of their shots from the floor in the first half and led by only six points at intermission. Fortunately, they were able to connect on 60 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half, and they finished the game with a 51-26 rebounding advantage. Defensively, MSU was able to limit BGSU to 27.3 percent shooting.

Heading into the most recent game against NC State, Syracuse was averaging 70.6 ppg while allowing only 58.9 ppg. On an individual basis, Kris Joseph was pacing a trio of double-digit scorers with 14.6 ppg for the Orange. In the clash with the Wolfpack, Syracuse held a four-point lead at intermission and was able to hold on for the victory despite shooting a mere 29.6 percent from the field in the second half. The club did play solid defense in the affair, and the fact that it finished with just five turnovers suggests that the Orange played smart, calculated basketball. Scoop Jardine posted 23 points for SU, although his 7-of-21 shooting effort from the floor left much to be desired. Rick Jackson added 16 points and eight rebounds for Syracuse, which got only eight points from Kris Joseph due to his poor 3-of-12 shooting performance.

These two teams are evenly matched and should put on quite a show for the Big Apple crowd. Syracuse will have far more fans in the stands, but Michigan State will emerge victorious.

GAME NOTES: Madison Square Garden is the site of tonight's non-conference showdown between the seventh-ranked Michigan State Spartans and the eighth- ranked Syracuse Orange. The game is part of the Jimmy V Classic.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,876) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Michigan St. 4-0, Syracuse 6-0. Away Record: Michigan St. 0-1, Syracuse 0-0. Neutral Record: Michigan St. 2-1, Syracuse 2-0. Conference Record: Michigan St. 0-0, Syracuse 0-0. Series Record: Syracuse leads, 9-7.

Michigan State 78, Syracuse 74