The No. 14 Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team will start the season on Friday afternoon with a matchup against the Connecticut Huskies at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, and MSU is currently listed as a 7.5-point favorite to win. The over/under for the game opened at 129.5 points, and since then it has moved up into the mid-130s, according to SB Nation's Odds page.
How will the game go for MSU and what are the keys to victory? The game preview over at The Only Colors provides some interesting analysis:
The game is going to be won or lost in the frontcourt for MSU. Matt Costello, who suffered a bone bruise to his tailbone a couple weeks ago could play, but the lion's share of the time will fall to Dawson, Nix, and Payne, with Gauna spelling the three periodically. They'll have the advantage close to the basket, and they'll need to force it.
Gary Harris will also need to lock down Omar Calhoun. They're both top 10 recruits at shooting guard, and if Harris can frustrate Calhoun that'll force Napier and Boatright to manufacture their own offense, which should benefit the Spartans.
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS vs. CONNECTICUT HUSKIES
Location: Hangar 5, Ramstein Air Base, Ramstein, Germany
Tip time: Nov. 9, 2012, 5:30 p.m. ET
RADIO: SPARTAN SPORTS NETWORK
The Spartans will meet up with No. 7 Kansas on Nov. 13 after they finish up with with the opener in Germany against UConn. The Big Ten portion of their season starts on Dec. 31 with a game against Minnesota.